Michael Jeffrey Shapiro
|Michael Jeffrey Shapiro|
Michael Jeffrey Shapiro
|Birth name||Michael Jeffrey Shapiro|
February 1, 1951 |
Brooklyn, NY, U.S.
|Origin||New York City, New York, United States|
|Occupations||Composer, conductor, pianist|
The son of a Klezmer band clarinetist, Michael Shapiro was born in Brooklyn, New York, and spent most of his high school years in Baldwin, a Long Island suburb. 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, which, at that time, included such international luminaries as Paul Henry Lang, Denis Stevens, Joel Newman, and others. He studied conducting independently with Carl Bamberger at the Mannes College of Music in New York. At The Juilliard School, where he earned his master’s degree, he studied solfège and score reading with the renowned Mme. Renée Longy—known to generations of Juilliard students as “the infamous madame of dictation” for her rigorous demands and classic pedagogic methods—and composition with Vincent Persichetti. His most influential composition teacher, however, was Elie Siegmeister, with whom he studied privately.
Since 2002 Shapiro has been 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 (directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff) (which has since its premiere received over a dozen productions nationally) 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 in 2010 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.
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.
Shapiro has received awards and grants from Martha Baird Rockefeller Composer’s Assistance, Meet the Composer, the Henry Evans Traveling Fellowship of Columbia University, and the Boris Koutzen Memorial Fund. He has also received the Columbian Award and the Sigma Alpha Iota Composers Competition prize. He is the author of Jewish Pride and of The Jewish 100, which has been published in British, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Polish, and Romanian editions—in addition to its original American release.
Shapiro has collaborated with such artists as Teresa Stratas, Jose Ferrer, Janos Starker, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Marin Alsop, Sergiu Comissiona, Eugene Drucker, Kim Cattrall, Tim Fain, Gottfried Wagner, Alexis Cole, Edward Arron, Jerome Rose, Mariko Anraku, Jose Ramos Santana, Clamma Dale, Anita Darian, Florence Levitt, Kikuei Ikeda, Ayako Yoshida, Harris Poor, John Edward Niles, David Leibowitz, Kathryn Amyotte, James Allen Anderson, Anthony LaGruth, and Emily Wong, and organizations such as the Houston Symphony Orchestra, West Point Band's The Jazz Knights, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, New York Repertory Orchestra, Garden State Philharmonic, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, American Jewish Committee, Hawthorne String Quartet, Locrian Chamber Ensemble, Amernet String Quartet, Artemis, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and Dateline NBC.
- He has written in every form including operas, symphonies, concerti, chamber music for various combinations, choral music, solo piano works, and six song cycles.
- The Love of Don Perlimplin and Belisa in the Garden, libretto by Michael Shapiro based on the play by Federico Garcia Lorca - a one-act opera written in 1984 and premiered by the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, John Edward Niles, conductor, Darko Tresnjak, stage director.
- American Jewish Committee documentary
- Distant Relatives - Israel Broadcasting Authority
- Frankenstein directed by James Whale starring Boris Karloff premiered at the Jacob Burns Film Center by The Chappaqua Orchestra - three versions for fifteen player ensemble, full orchestra, and wind ensemble
- A Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 for narrator and orchestra, premiered by Jose Ferrer, narrator, during the Bicentennial
- Lyric Variations for chamber orchestra
- like the roaring sea for orchestra
- Frankenstein-The Overture
- The Headless Horseman for narrator and orchestra
- Perlimplinito, Opera Sweet, a lace paper valentine for orchestra
- Widorama! for orchestra
- Roller Coaster for orchestra
- Roller Coaster" for band
- Widorama!" for band
- Sinfonia Concertante for violin, 'cello and orchestra
- Concerto for guitar and strings
- Concerto for harp and strings
- Archangel Concerto for piano and orchestra
- String Quartet (Yiddish)
- Piano Quintet
- Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano
- Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano
- Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
- Sextet for Piano and Winds
- Shir for Flute and Piano
- Songs of the Jewish Ghetto for Cello and Piano (alt. Violin and Piano)
- Musical Chairs for brass quintet (French Horn, two trumpets, trombone, and tuba)
- Eliahu Hanavi Variations - for solo 'cello
- Peace Variations- for solo violin
- Kaddish-Berakhot-Nigun - for solo flute
- Five Preludes
- Sonata No. 1
- Sonata No. 2
- Bitter(sweet) Waltzes
- Three Psalms
- Psalm 137
- Ani Maamin
- Three Shakespeare Madrigals
- There is that in me (Whitman)
- Spanish Medieval Lyrics
- Canciones, poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca
- Dublin Songs, poetry by James Joyce
- Songs for American Poets, poetry by Walt Whitman, Teton Sioux, Carl Sandburg
- Wordsworth Songs, poetry by William Wordsworth
- Erotic Songs, poetry by Erica Jong and Denise Levertov
- A Child's Garden, poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Recordings include:
- Eliahu Hanavi Variations Sato Knudsen ('cello) (Naxos Records, Milken Archive of Jewish American Music)
- "Variation" - Peace Variations Tim Fain (violin) and Eliahu Hanavi Variations Sato Knudsen ('cello) (Paumanok Records)
- http://www.michaelshapiro.com Official Website
- ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, R. Bowker LLC (January 1981) ISBN 0-8352-1283-1