Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
January 11
Did You Guess?
Also called a double basson, the contrabassoon is a member of the woodwind family.  Click Here For A Picture. Its deepest notes range to a half octave below a string bass.  Ms. Shapiro's work, Deep, was recorded by Carolyn Beck  in her album Beck and Call.  You can hear an excerpt of the piece HERE (selection 13 in the samples listed). Another sample of contrabassoon music, not by Ms. Shapiro, can be heard here.
Can You Guess?
Among Ms. Shapiro's works is a piece called Deep, which features a Contrabassoon . . . not an instrument we see every day.  Can You Guess what a contrabassoon is?
What Else
Happened
Today?
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1843 - Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner (US national anthem) died

1895 - Premiere of Johannes Brahms's Clarinet Sonata, Op. 120, no. 1. Richard Muhlfeld, clarinet and Brahms at piano, in Vienna.

1925 - Premiere of Aaron Copland's Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, at Aeolian Hall in NYC. New York Symphony, Walter Damrosch conducting. Nadia Boulanger was the soloist.

1929Wanda Wilkomirska, Polish violinist, was born  in Warsaw.

1940 - Premiere of Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet in Leningrad.

1964 - Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash became the first country album to top the U.S. pop album chart.

1965 - The Beach Boys recorded Do You Wanna Dance.

1967
- Jimi Hendrix recorded Purple Haze.

1976 - Premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures in NYC.
Alex Shapiro
1962-
Alex Shapiro was born January 11, 1962, in New York City.  She studied piano, and began studying composition at age 15 under Leo Edwards at Mannes College of Music, and with Michael Cazajkowski and George Tsontakis at the Aspen Music School.
In 1983 Alex moved to Los Angeles.  Once there she began working in the field of film and television.  Among others, her compositions were featured on the 1994 film Horses and Champions.
Obviously an accomplished pianist, Ms. Shapiro also plays the guitar and has composed for many instruments and ensembles.
Of special interest to the readers of this web site will be Ms. Shapiro's works for strings.  She wrote a trio for clarinet, violin and piano, which was performed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.  She also wrote a string quintet.called Current Events.

Ms. Shapiro has written for piano (naturally), brass, strings, percussion, even electronics!  Her web site has a wonderful section where you can hear some of her music.  Click Here to go directly to the part of her web site devoted to works.

Ms. Shapiro has received many national honors and awards including those from The American Music Center, ASCAP, the American Composers Forum and Mu Phi Epsilon.  She also received artist fellowships from The California Arts Council and The MacDowell Colony.

An enthusiastic leader in the Southern California new music community, Alex is President of the Board of Directors of The American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, Chairperson of ACF/LA’s Advisory Council, and a popular moderator of many local music events, including ACF/LA’s Composer’s Salon series in Hollywood. She has served as an officer on the boards of national music organizations including NACUSA, the College Music Society, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists.

Known for her engaging presentations, Alex has been invited to speak at a wide variety of seminars and programs, including NARAS' "Grammy® in the Schools," IAWM's International Congress of Women in Music, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's First Nights series. She is frequently a guest lecturer at colleges and universities.

Alex lives in Malibu and Santa Barbara, California, where she is able to spend a great deal of time with nature.  When not at the piano she enjoys ocean kayaking, sailing, or just spending time with the sealife at the tide pools.
Click Picture to See Ms. Shapiro's web site.
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