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Michael Shapiro

Sat 8.14 Roller Coaster


Michael Shapiro's music has been characterized by The New York Times as "possessing a rare melodic gift."  He has composed for every medium, including over one hundred works for solo voice, piano, chamber groups, chorus, and orchestra as well as television, film, and opera.

Shapiro's works have been widely performed in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and he has received numerous honors and commissions. Premieres of his works have been heard over National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting System, the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Sender Freies Berlin, as well as major radio and television stations including WQXR and WCBS-TV.

Now in his eighth season as Music Director and Conductor of The Chappaqua Orchestra, Shapiro has performed internationally including appearances in Berlin, Siena, Victoria, New York, Boston, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C.  In a recent celebration of WQXR radio personality Robert Sherman’s 75th birthday, Shapiro conducted the first performance of a new version, with narration, of John Corigliano's The Red Violin Suite. Shapiro has collaborated with Teresa Stratas, Jose Ferrer, Janos Starker, Sergiu Comissiona, Eugene Drucker, Mariko Anraku, Kim Cattrall, Timothy Fain, Edward Arron, Jerome Rose, Faye Robinson, Clamma Dale, Anita Darian, Kikuei Ikeda, Ayako Yoshida, Harris Poor, Emily Wong, the Hawthorne String Quartet, Locrian Chamber Ensemble, Artemis, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, and Dateline-NBC. Shapiro's Eliahu Hanavi Variations for solo violoncello played by Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Sato Knudsen will be issued this year on NAXOS as part of the Milken Jewish American Archive.

Shapiro served for two years as Music Consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. where he produced and performed the music of composers who perished in or fled Europe during the Second World War.  He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Conductor's Guild.

Important recent performances of his music included his Frankenstein-The Movie Score and the premiere of the new Second Violin and Piano Sonata and solo Peace Variations, by violinist Tim Fain. His underscoring for a new NBC Universal television drama will air prime-time nationally in 2010.

Shapiro was assistant conductor at the Zurich Opera Studio, and has appeared internationally conducting his own music, including recording the film score for the Israel Broadcasting Authority documentary Distant Relatives.  He regularly performs his own music and conducted The Chappaqua Orchestra in the world premiere of his score for the classic film Frankenstein directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Jacob Burns Film Center and the Paramount and Coolidge Corner theaters.  During The Chappaqua Orchestra's 50th Season, he conducted the world premiere of his new work for orchestra, Roller Coaster, which will receive its West Coast premiere at Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2010.

Principal composition teachers included Elie Siegmeister, Vincent Persichetti, and Sir Malcolm Arnold.  Trained in conducting by Carl Bamberger and Harold Farberman, Shapiro studied solfège and score reading at The Juilliard School with Renee Longy.  He was the winner of various piano competitions during his youth and continues performing as an accompanist to singers and as a chamber music pianist.

Shapiro's prizes and grants include those from Martha Baird Rockefeller Composer's Assistance, Meet the Composer, Henry Evans Traveling Fellowship of Columbia University, the Columbian Award, Sigma Alpha Iota Composer's Competition Prize, and the Boris Koutzen Memorial Fund.

Shapiro is the author of the international bestseller The Jewish 100 (published in American, British, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Polish, and Romanian language editions) and Jewish Pride.