When I was a kid, my father took me to hear the great jazz and classical musicians of the time. Whether it was Louis Armstrong or Rubinstein, Bernstein, Karajan, and Milstein or Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, and Stan Kenton, I was privileged to grow up in a New York where one could hear some of the finest music making imaginable.
I played piano really well. I burned to learn music, sight reading everything, every day. I had no choice but to become a musician.
Some ask, why compose? I answer, why breathe or eat? Thus, I write and perform, record, and conduct countless works and concerts.
Then COVID pneumonia hit in March, 2020, all hell broke loose, and I was flat on my back in the hospital with a high fever fighting off acute respiratory distress.
Death’s door was knocking but I didn’t give up. Even when you’re at your lowest, things can happen. My recordings publicist Max called and told me I was going to be on SiriusXM’s Living American hour-long show, featuring my Archangel Piano Concerto. I joked that “Dying American” was more like it.
Well, there’s always hope, I thought: what am I here for and where am I going?
I fought, the antibiotics worked, the fever faded, and I made my way out. And six weeks later, fighting to catch my breath back, I was hosting Living American on SiriusXM.
When I was going through the misery so many others were facing, I realized that in all those years spent writing and performing, my creativity was about effecting change and helping the world put itself back together. I found that all I care about is the health of the planet and all living things. And perhaps through the sounds I create, some soothing and tending could be there to help others.
I’m back, and it’s time to get the show on the road.
- My new version of Frankenstein-The Movie Score using the Latin Requiem Mass as its libretto will premiere at the Los Angeles Opera in October 2022. I will conduct five singers from the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra at the historic movie palace built originally by United Artists in the 1920s and now called The Theater at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
My piano pieces Passages based on Biblical portions were premiered at Bargemusic in January 2022 and recorded by pianist Steven Beck. The recording by Mr. Beck, also including Interludes and Bitter(Sweet) Waltzes, produced by Adam Abeshouse, will be available in the Spring on Paumanok Records and as a download on Spotify, Apple Music, Prime Music, and all the major platforms.
Pianist Lara Downes plays Tending from Interludes at the University of Maryland and at the Mondavi Center in California.
My large scale work entitled Voices for tenor soloist, chorus, and chamber ensemble based on Sephardic poetry of the Shoah will be premiered on November 9 and November 10, 2022 by Daniel Mutlu, tenor, Ember Choral Arts conducted by Deborah Simpkin King in Manhattan at Central Synagogue and in Westchester at Temple Shaaray Tefila and recorded for Paumanok Records, Adam Abeshouse, producer. Paul Shaffer will host the performance at Central Synagogue.
My opera The Slave based on the novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer, libretto by Hannah McDermott is in preparation (to be performed by a consortium of opera companies).
I recently completed At the Shore of the Sea, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, will be premiered by Tim Fain, violin, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Eric Jacobsen, conductor and recorded by Adam Abeshouse, producer.
I recently finished In the Light of the Sun, Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, which will be recorded by a flutist to be announced in 2023.
This year and coming seasons other performances of Frankenstein-The Movie Requiem and Frankenstein-The Movie Score will occur in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Indiana as well as the Portuguese premiere at the Casa da Musica by the Remix Ensemble, Brad Lubman, conductor, U.K. premieres at the University of Liverpool and Chethem’s Music School in Manchester, by the Northern Film Orchestra, Melvin Tay, conductor, Italian premiere in Milan by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, I conducted, the German premiere at the Oper Trier, Philharmonisches Orchester der Stadt Trier, Trier, Germany, Andrey Litvinenko, conductor, and by the Western Piedmont Symphony, Matthew Thomas Troy, conductor, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Puerto Rico, Rafael Enrique Irizarry, conductor, the Steamboat Springs Music Festival, Mark Gould, conductor, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Matthew Kraemer, conductor, Albert Nguyen will again conduct the wind ensemble version with the University of Memphis Wind Ensemble at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, Daniel Belongia will conduct the Arkansas premiere with the Arkansas Tech University Wind Ensemble.
Soprano Ariadne Greif has recorded my song cycles for Paumanok Records accompanied by the composer, which was issued in January 2021 on CD and download on the major platforms.
Cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio shall be performing for broadcast my Eliahu Hanavi Variations for solo violoncello.
My work for chorus and organ In Paradisum will be premiered on All Soul’s Day at the Gloucester Cathedral in the U.K. by the Cathedral Choir, Adrian Partington, conductor.
Cellist Christopher Ahn has performed on a Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience video broadcast my Eliahu Hanavi Variations for solo violoncello.
My Archangel Concerto for piano and orchestra was recorded by Steven Beck with me conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as well as recording his Roller Coaster (premiered by Marin Alsop conducting the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Orchestra), Perlimplinito, Opera Sweet, A Lace Paper Valentine (entr’acte music from Shapiro’s first opera), and Widorama! (his arrangement of Charles-Marie Widor’s famous organ Toccata), which were premiered on BBC 3.
Some of these works are being featured on SiriusXM Symphony Hall Living American and Classics on Film programs hosted by me, and over eighty (80) public and commercial radio stations in the United States from New York to California, on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, via BBC 3 and Bradley Stoke Radio in the United Kingdom, Australian National Radio, Polskie Radio (Poland), and in South Africa.
My new work for band In Every One will be performed by the Kennesaw State University Wind Ensemble, David Kehler, conductor, in Georgia, University of Memphis Wind Ensemble, Albert Nguyen, conductor, in Tennessee, and Wind Symphony at Bowling Green University, Bruce Moss, conductor. In addition at these universities, I will be active in teaching residencies with conducting and composition students.
Recent performances of my music to the classic talkie film Frankenstein included its European premiere at the Bergen International Festival by the Dragefjellets Musikkorps, conducted by Michael Shapiro, a repeat performance by the Dallas Winds, Jerry Junkin, conducting, at the Moody Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District; United States Navy Band, Captain Kenneth Collins conducting, at the AFI Silver Theater, Silver Spring, Maryland; Piedmont Wind Symphony, Matthew Thomas Troy, conducting, at Reynolds Auditorium, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra, James Tapia conducting, at Setnor Auditorium, Syracuse, New York; Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra, Jeffery Meyer conducting, at Gammage Auditorium in Phoenix and at Mesa Performing Arts Center, Mesa, Arizona; Rideau Lakes Orchestra, Alexandra Guerin conducting, at Mason Theatre, Perth, Canada; Livingston Symphony Orchestra, Anthony LaGruth conducting, at Mt. Pleasant School, Livingston, New Jersey; and the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Jeffery Meyer, conducting, at Lendok Film Studio, St. Petersburg, Russia, the York Symphony and the Yakima Symphony conducted by Lawrence Golan, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Matthew Kraemer, conductor, Steamboat Springs Strings Music Festival, Mark Gould, conductor, Connecticut College Orchestra, Matthias Elmer, conductor, Wesleyan College Orchestra, Nadya Potemkina, conductor, Texas Woman’s University Wind Symphony, Carter Biggars, conductor, University of Hawaii Wind Ensemble, Jeffrey Boeckman, conductor, Rogue Valley Symphonic Band, Daniel Kocurek, conductor, Ashland, Oregon, and Sonoma State Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Andy Collinsworth, conductor.
My weekly broadcast show (appearing on the Crossover Media network, FaceBook, Vimeo, and YouTube, and as an Apple Podcasts), INTERPLAY, Conversations in Music, features guests such as JoAnne Falletta, Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway, Ivan Fischer, Giancarlo Guerrero, Gerard Schwarz, Steven Isserlis, Alexander Soddy, Wayne Marshall, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Jerry Junkin, Arthur Fagen, Andrew Litton, John Mauceri, David Stern, Anton Nel, Leonard Slatkin, Tim Fain, Gil Shaham and Scott Wheeler, Eric Jacobsen, Carlos Kalmar, David Leibowitz, Gabriela Montero, Norman Lebrecht, Chee-Yun, Elliott Forrest, Garrett Keast, Lidiya Yankovskaya, James Robinson, Lara Downes, Sara Sant’Ambrogio, Adrian Partington, Simone Dinnerstein, Natasha Paremski, Blind Mississippi Morris, Jamie Bernstein, Daron Hagen, Alessio Bax, Lucille Chung, Maya Beiser, Michael Schelle, Andreas Haefliger, Deborah Simpkin King, Sarah McKoin, Robert Carnochan, David Kehler, Albert Nguyen, and Kevin Sedatole, Francesca Zambello, Martin Bresnick, Michael Christie, Anton Nel, Alexander Mickelthwaite, Alex Shapiro, James Tapia, Carolyn Watson, Kevin Suetterlin, and Mathias Elmer, Jennifer Higdon, and the Frankenstein Monster.
Listen to latest recordings at:
And interviews on NPR: