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Michael Shapiro

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Michael Shapiro

Biography

Michael Shapiro (b. 1 February 1951, Brooklyn, N.Y.) is an American composer and conductor.

The son of a Klezmer band clarinetist, Michael Shapiro spent most of his high school years in Baldwin, a Long Island suburb, where he was a music student of Consuelo Elsa Clark, William Zurcher, and Rudolph Bosakowski. The winner of several piano competitions during his youth, he earned his B.A. at Columbia College, Columbia University, where he majored in English literature and concentrated in music, benefiting most—according to his own assessment—from some of the department’s stellar musicology faculty. At The Juilliard School, where he earned his master’s degree, he studied solfège and score reading with the renowned Mme. Renée Longy and composition with Vincent Persichetti. His most influential composition teacher, however, was Elie Siegmeister, with whom Shapiro studied privately.

Michael Shapiro’s works, which in the aggregate address nearly every medium, have been performed widely throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe—with broadcasts of premieres on National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Sender Freies Berlin, WQXR, and WCBS-TV. His music has been characterized in a New York Times review as “possessing a rare melodic gift.” His oeuvre includes more than one hundred works for solo voice, piano, chamber ensembles, chorus, orchestra, as well as for opera, film, and television, with recordings on Naxos and Paumanok Records.

Michael Shapiro is the music director and conductor of the Chappaqua Orchestra in New York’s Westchester County, which he conducted for the world premiere of his score for the classic 1931 film Frankenstein as well as for the world premiere of his own orchestral work, Roller Coaster, which received its West Coast premiere under the baton of Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music while Shapiro was a composer in residence. He served for two years as the music consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., where he produced and performed music by a number of composers who were either murdered by the Germans and their collaborators or had survived as refugees from the Third Reich. He has also been the assistant conductor at the Zurich Opera Studio.


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