11 JANUARY 2019

Friday, 11 January 2019


Alex Shapiro composes genre-blind acoustic and electroacoustic solo, chamber and symphonic pieces known for their lyricism and drama. Published by Activist Music LLC, her works are heard daily in concerts and broadcasts across the U.S. and internationally, and can be found on nearly thirty commercially released recordings from around the world. Shapiro is known for her seamless melding of live and recorded sounds that often include striking visual and physical elements, and for her innovative uses of technology in her music for wind bands.

Ms. Shapiro is the Symphonic & Concert writer member on the Board of Directors of ASCAP, and its representative on the Executive Committee of The International Council of Music Authors (CIAM)— the writers council of CISAC, a global network of authors' societies representing four million creators in 121 countries. She also serves as a board member of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The ASCAP Foundation, and and is a former board member of U.S. music organizations including The American Music Center, the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, The MacDowell Colony, and The Society of Composers & Lyricists.

Educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music as a student of Ursula Mamlok and John Corigliano, Alex moved from Manhattan to Los Angeles in 1983, and in 2007 relocated to Washington State's remote San Juan Island, where she composes in a home perched on the water's edge, surrounded by wildlife.


Paper Cut by Alex Shapiro



Ilse Weber was a Czech author and songwriter. She wrote children's fiction, and her most popular book was "Mendel Rosenbusch: Tales for Jewish Children" (1929). She had learned to sing and play guitar, lute, mandolin and balalaika, but she had never sought a career as a musician. When the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, the Webers were able to get their eldest son to safety in Sweden through Kindertransport. Unfortunately, Ilse, her husband, and their younger son Tommy were sent to Theresienstadt in February 1942. She worked in the camp's children's hospital at night, doing all she could for the patients without the help of medicine, as it was forbidden for Jewish prisoners. 

She wrote many poems while she was there and set a good number of them to music. She would accompany herself on guitar while she sang her lullaby-like songs to children and the elderly of the ghetto. When her husband was deported to Auschwitz two years later, she and Tommy went with him so as not to break up their family. It is said that Ilse sang to her son and many other children as she accompanied them voluntarily into the gas chambers. She and her son were murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz on 6 October 1944.


Wiegala, wiegala, weir by Ilse Weber
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