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from BBC Music Magazine, September 1997


At the age of 27, Theodore Shapiro ("Shup-EYE-ro") has composed music for the concert stage, film and television. After completing his Master’s degree at the Juilliard School of Music in 1995, Mr. Shapiro won the New York Youth Symphony’s "First Music" composition competition. As a result, he composed a flute concerto, entitled "Ophelia", for the New York Youth Symphony. The concerto received its premiere at Carnegie Hall in December 1996, with Eugenia Zukerman as soloist. The New York Post wrote of this work, "Shapiro has clearly got a keen ear for orchestral colors, both delicate and robust." "Ophelia" was also performed by the Eugene Symphony in Oregon in January, 1998.

Last fall, Gerard Schwarz conducted the premiere of a new orchestral work, "Of Blood and Carnations" with the New York Chamber Symphony, at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. The New York Times wrote that his music, "reveals an alert ear." Mr. Shapiro’s most recent commission was from the Next Generation Festival in Pennsylvania. This new work, "City of Windows", was performed by pianist Awadagin Pratt and his chamber group in June, to great acclaim. The Patriot-News wrote, "Inspired by the poetry of W.S. Merwin, ‘City of Windows’ is a tour de force expressing the paradox of living in a crowded city where individuals are very much alone." Mr. Shapiro is writing a piano concerto for Mr. Pratt for the 1999-2000 season to be performed with the Seattle Symphony. While working on his Master’s degree, Mr. Shapiro’s song cycle for soprano and orchestra, "The Dreamful Heart", was performed at Alice Tully Hall with Lauren Flanigan as soloist. In 1996 Ms. Flanigan also performed his work for soprano and piano, "Three Songs for Spring", in Bryant Park in New York City.

In addition to his concert music, Mr. Shapiro wrote the score to the film, "Hurricane Streets", which won top prizes for Best Direction, Best Cinematography and the Audience Award at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. He also scored the independent films "Six Ways To Sunday" and "Safe Men", as well as "Restaurant". He is currently at work on "The Prince of Central Park" starring Harvey Keitel and Kathleen Turner. His television work includes composing for the MTV sketch comedy show, "The State", and their CBS television special, as well as the hit show on Comedy Central, "Viva Variety".

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1971, Mr. Shapiro received his B.A. in music from Brown University. His thesis at Brown was a musical called "Deep Freeze", which ran at Leeds Theater in Providence in 1992. He was later named writer-in-residence at the 1993 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Music Theater Festival. Mr. Shapiro studied composition with David Diamond and Ron Nelson. He is now living in New York City.



On his collaboration with Awadagin Pratt:

"Awadagin and I had a mutual acquaintance — Tom Stone from the Cypress String Quartet. Awadagin was friends with him from school, I think, and my parents were friends with his. So I had known about Awadagin from the time he won the Naumberg competition and had seen him perform several times. One time I went to hear him play with the New York Chamber Symphony and introduced myself to him after the concert. He had heard about me as well, and so we talked a bit and swapped addresses and phone numbers. I sent him a score and tape of my piece, 'The Dreamful Heart', for soprano and orchestra. I didn't hear from him, and that, I assumed, was that. About a year later, I got a message on my voice mail from him. He had listened to the piece, and liked it, and asked me if I had written anything for soprano and piano. He came to New York in the next week, and we hung out, watched football, and listened to some music. Altogether not the usual way you get commissioned to write a piece, but nonetheless he asked if I was interested in writing a new work for soprano, piano, violin, and cello. "City of Windows" was that piece, written for the 1998 Next Generation Festival."


Alternative biography by Jon Burlingame

Alternative biography by Dan Goldwasser


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