A pensive and beautiful plunge.

(Contrabassoon and Electronic soundscape).
Total duration ca. 8 minutes (2004)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Commissioned in 200
4 by Carolyn Beck.
One movement work. 4 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Recorded in December 2004 by Carolyn Beck, contrabassoon;
Dan Morris, additional percussion.

Recorded in December 2006 by Leslie Lashinsky, contrabassoon;
Dan Morris, additional percussion.

Recorded in October 2007 by Marco Mazzini, contrabass clarinet.

Recorded in September 2018 by Cayla Bellamy, bassoon.

Audio clip of contrabassoon version performed by Leslie Lashinsky.
Audio clip of French horn version performed by Cynthia Hutton.
Audio clip of tuba version performed by Tony Zilincik.

Also available for Contrabass clarinet.
Also available for Contra-alto clarinet.
Also available for Bassoon.
Also available for Euphonium.

Also available for Tuba.
Also available for French horn.

Also available for Alto flute.
Also available for 6-string electric cello.
And any other instrument on which someone wants to play the piece.



Related work:

Depth Sounding more

Total duration ca. 8 minutes (2023)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 19 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Even Deeper more

Total duration ca. 8 minutes (2014)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 18 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered on August 6, 2014 in New York City, New York,
at the International Double Reed Society Convention, conducted by Daniel Baldwin.



kelp forest


Listen to an audio clip of Deep, for contrabassoon



Listen to an audio clip of Deep, for French horn
Listen to an audio clip of Deep, for tuba
View a page of the score to Deep
view score


Email Alex for the access code
to download a perusal score
of the contrabassoon version!

download perusal score



Purchase the score and audio track

Score and audio track available from Activist Music for $25.00, print; $17.00 digital.






I want truth and nakedness in my music; I want honesty. I want the listener to feel my heart and have their own stirred by what I offer in sound.


Deep was commissioned by Carolyn Beck, who has been the inspiration for much of my bassoon music. I was touched by her excitement when a gorgeous new contrabassoon, affectionately named Moby, came into her life. Listening to the profound resonance of the tones the two made together returned me to the depths of the translucent sea that enveloped my body on a recent visit to Belize. The lower I sank, the more beauty greeted my eyes. The flat color of the surface had hidden the truth below.


Sometimes I make the mistake of believing that I’m not being unless I’m doing and moving. This piece was my challenge to myself to be still and present. And in doing so, I’ve never been as much before. Like the sea, my truth lies below, and I am happiest when I am immersed.


Inhale. Exhale.




Beck and Call CD


Deep is featured on Carolyn Beck's 2005 CD, Beck and Call, on Crystal Records CD 846. Click CD for more info.

Notes from the Kelp

Deep is featured on the 2007 Innova Recordings CD, Notes from the Kelp (innova 683), recorded by Leslie Lashinsky. Click CD for more info.





Double or Nothing CD

A version of Deep for bassoon is featured on the 2018 Mark Masters CD, Double or Nothing (Mark Masters 54263-MCD), recorded by Cayla Bellamy. Click CD for more info.













Hear Alex discuss the making of Deep, in this ASCAP Audio Portrait interview (2:57):


hear hear


Enjoy this video of contrabass clarinetist Marco Mazzini
performing DEEP:





Enjoy this video of tubist Steven Darling
performing DEEP:





Enjoy this video of contrabassonist Pascal Thirot
performing the original version of DEEP:



Chamber Music




"one of [Shapiro's] most remarkable works is simply entitled Deep, written for contrabassoon and electronicsoundtrack. There is nothing “bassoon-y” or even soloistic about it. The electronic timbres are so mystically sepulchral that they fold the contrabassoon into themselves, and you really have to watch the score to be sure what the soloist is playing and what’s on the accompanying sound track... the sound production is so superb that you could pass the piece off as a really outside-the-box pop record, like a long-lost Brian Eno track. Surely this is the best solo contrabassoon piece ever written..."


Kyle Gann, May 2008






"In Shapiro's aptly titled "Deep," the contrabassoon emerges from a pre-recorded track of electronics evoking the bottom of the sea. The blend of sonorities is ominous and magical."


The Gramophone, May 2006




" Alex Shapiro, "Deep," for contrabassoon and recorded track, is one of my favorites. Against the low and meditative sounds of the recorded track, [Beck's] first entrance is almost imperceptible. Her legato playing is excellent and her tone is warm and even–quite rare for such a whale of an instrument."


American Record Guide, May/June 2006



"Shapiro’s "Deep" places the contrabassoon in the midst of a soundscape of “both sampled and electronically generated sounds.” It begins as a quiet wash of altered percussion alongside birdcalls and so on, with the contrabassoon sounding ominously underneath... [it] remains texturally absorbing..."

Fanfare Magazine, May/June 2006



"In ["Deep"], Beck's contrabassoon melts into Alex Shapiro's watery sampled or electronically generated sounds. The sonic environment which results might have you thinking 'full fathom five'."


International Record Review, March 2006



"... I loved the dark, deep, almost gothic lyricism of the contrabassoon/pre-recorded track work "Deep," providing us with a truly unique and original composition for contrabassoon."


The Double Reed, April 2006



"Deep... teams a contrabassoon and electronics in a marvelously evocative depiction of the composer's experiences scuba diving in Belize... This ought to make a good introduction to the eclectic music of the present day, which embraces audiences as resolutely as the composers of the 1960s and 1970s rejected them, and it's enough to give one hope for the contemporary music scene."


All Music Guide, October 2007



"... the most effective piece for contrabassoon and accompaniment I have yet heard.... Shapiro's sound track embraces the listener and creates vivid images of the unique beauty and tranquility of the sea floor. Kudos to Carolyn Beck for playing that is controlled and well in tune. Captain Nemo beware!"


The Journal of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, Summer 2007



"It’s a deeply and darkly mysterious work that will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, we promise you. This is electronics put to proper use in the making of music, and if we hear so much as a whisper of the phrase “movie music” from any of you, we’ll write you off as a woodenheaded, hopelessly music-deaf philistine, and have nothing further to do with you."


A.C. Douglas, Sounds & Fury



"[Shapiro] sends Leslie Lashinsky’s bassoon towards the centre of the earth, its goblinoid resonances drilling softly downward."


Tobias Fischer, Tokafi



"The dynamics are incredible. The bass part is sublime. Melodic, developmental, well thought out. i.e. - composed, as opposed to [so] many others in which the instrumental parts exist as merely a series of atonal phrases which ride over electronics, neither of them interfacing to one another exceptionally well... By counterpoint [Shapiro has] created an intricate weave... I appreciate the way the bass and electronics shift focus and actually take the accompanying role when they do. At no time did i feel the two were stepping on each other's coat tails. An excellent body of work.... Exceptional. "

— Peter Grenader, composer; Electro-Acoustic Research



"My favorite piece of the collection is Deep, partially for its use of electroacoustic sounds, but also for the excellent bassoon writing and the very deep and rich musical atmosphere created... it's also superb on the level of construction and coherence. Deep is truly a a marvelous composition and a triumph of musical imagination.


— Barry Schrader, composer; professor, CalArts



"[In "Deep"], we enter another world of color: possibly the depths of rich ocean life, a planet, perhaps even the womb – an unknown. There is majesty and solace in this place.


— Sherry Kloss, Mu Phi Epsilon's The Triangle



"Deep, for contrabassoon and electronics, uses the wide soundscape sensibility and orchestral panorama with a tonal orientation. This is no acousmatics, but it's also no "Hearts of Space" twaddle. Out of a haze in a reverberant field comes the contrabassoon and long, slow pitches rising from and fading into the haze. The pitches slowly stitch themselves into a melody, and recurring percussive sensations in the distance resolve into open intervals and even chords. I'm just reading Luigi Agostii's Creare Paesaggi Sonori, and realize that in all his talk of technique, he rarely touches on the depth of imagination required for a compelling experience."


— Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, composer; host, Kalvos & Damian



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