Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro
Based in San Juan Island, WA

“Most of the homes in which I’ve lived have been on the water’s edge, or, in the case of my sailboat, on the water itself. The constant, irregular rhythm and movement of bays, rivers, seas and ocean profoundly affect the way I hear. Through phrases that defy gravity and expectation, I attempt to communicate that which is elusive, haunting, and beautiful.

Humans are torn by the self-made dichotomy of architecture and its nemesis, war. Nature’s geometrically perfect snowflakes suffer the cruel, messy fate of the sun. Like petulant children, we, and the Universe, seek and create order, only to then destroy it and begin again.”


Alex Shapiro (b. 1962) composes acoustic and electroacoustic pieces known for their lyricism and drama. Published by Activist Music, her works are heard daily in concerts and broadcasts across the U.S. and internationally, and can be found on over twenty commercially released recordings from around the world.

An enthusiastic leader in the new music community, Alex is a strong advocate for other artists through her speaking appearances, published articles and volunteerism. She is the Symphonic and Concert music representative on the ASCAP Board of Directors, co-chairs ASCAP’s Symphonic & Concert Committee, and chairs the Media Council for New Music USA. Ms. Shapiro is the past President of the Board of Directors of the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, and has also served as on the boards of national music organizations including The American Music Center, The MacDowell Colony, The College Music Society, NACUSA, and The Society of Composers & Lyricists.

Ms. Shapiro was born and raised in New York City and was educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music as a student of Ursula Mamlok and John Corigliano. Trading the East River and the Hudson for the Pacific ocean, in 1983 Alex moved to Los Angeles, where she lived for 24 years. Having migrated northward from her Malibu home in 2007, Alex now lives on Washington State’s remote San Juan Island. A sailor and an award-winning amateur wildlife photographer whose music sometimes reflects her watery environment, Alex can often be found communing with the sea life, as seen on her music and photo-filled blog, and her website,

Work Samples

Excerpt from Below (2008) for electronics and contrabass flute. Recorded by Peter Sheridan. Learn more about this piece.

“Hidden from our eyes and even our imagination, the ocean’s private sanctuary of liquid beauty and grace envelopes life, and hope.”

Excerpt from Current Events (2003) for string quintet. Recorded by Pacific Serenades Quintet. Learn more about this piece.

“Current Events ponders the ocean’s tides as well as waves of a more internal, emotional nature.”

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