Michael Shapiro’s works have been performed 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, which spans across all media, 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 and orchestra, as well as for opera, film and television, with recordings on Naxos and Paumanok Records.
Michael Shapiro has collaborated with a long roster of artists including Teresa Stratas, José Ferrer, Janos Starker, Sir Malcolm Arnold and Marin Alsop, and with organizations such as the BBC National Symphony of Wales, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, West Point Band, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Shapiro guest conducts internationally and is Laureate Conductor of The Chappaqua Orchestra in New York’s Westchester County. He also has been the assistant conductor at the Zurich Opera Studio.
The son of a Klezmer band clarinetist, Michael Shapiro was born in Brooklyn, New York. The winner of several piano competitions during his youth, he earned his BA at Columbia College, Columbia University, where he majored in English literature and concentrated in music, benefiting most from some of the department’s stellar musicology faculty, which at that time included such international luminaries as Paul Henry Lang and Denis Stevens. He studied conducting independently with Carl Bamberger at the Mannes College of Music and later with Harold Farberman at Bard College. 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.