Mark Shapiro, Music Director

Mark Shapiro, PEISO Conductor
Mark Shapiro, PEISO Conductor

During a memorable PEI snowstorm in February 2013, Mark Shapiro was Guest Conductor for a PEI Symphony performance that featured Rachmaninoff’s Symphony no. 2.  Maestro Shapiro became Music Director of the PEI Symphony  in May 2013.

Versatile conductor Mark Shapiro is one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award five times, achieving the unique distinction of winning such an award with more than one ensemble. His work has been praised by the New York Times for its “virtuosity and assurance,” which also remarked on its “uncommon polish,” and characterized by the New Jersey Star-Ledger as “erudite and far-reaching.” He is widely recognized as an imaginative, passionate, and humorous interpreter, communicator and advocate.

Equally at home with orchestras, opera companies, and choruses, Maestro Shapiro continues as a principal guest conductor of the chamber orchestra Nova Sinfonia in Halifax. 2014-15 opera engagements include Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia with Juilliard Vocal Arts, for whom he previously conducted a double bill of operas by Britten and Vaughan Williams, and Poulenc’s comic opera Les mamelles de Tirésias. Other opera credits include American Opera Projects, Carolina Coast Chamber Festival, The Center for Contemporary Opera, The Mannes Opera, Middlebury Opera and Underworld Opera.

In 2011, Maestro Shapiro was appointed the seventh Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York, one of New York City’s longest-established oratorio societies, which offers an annual subscription series in Carnegie Hall. Under his leadership, The Cecilia Chorus presented its first ever commission for Carnegie Hall, as well as historic revivals by Peter Mennin and Dame Ethel Smyth.
Maestro Shapiro is currently in his twenty-fourth season as Artistic Director of Cantori New York, and in 2012 completed his twenty-one year tenure with the Red Bank, New Jersey-based Monmouth Civic Chorus. Under his baton, these groups have won local and national recognition both for their programming and for the artistry of their performances. Cantori New York has repeatedly won recognition from The American Prize in Choral Performance. In September 2013, Cantori and Maestro Shapiro traveled to Marseille, where Cantori was invited to participate in the city-wide festival “20 lieux sur la mer” in celebration of Marseille’s selection as 2013 European Cultural Capital.

With Cantori New York, Maestro Shapiro has conducted over 160 national, local and world premieres by an impressive roster of international composers. Cantori has released four commercial recordings, on the Albany, Arsis, Newport Classics, and PGM labels; a fifth release is pending. The group’s recording of Frank Martin’s oratorio Le vin herbé was an Opera News Editor’s Choice. Cantori has appeared at Zankel Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, and at Avery Fisher Hall and the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center; presenters have included Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series, Music at the Anthology, Gotham Early Music Series, Chelsea Music Festival, Teatro Grattacielo, and World Financial Center Arts&Events. Cantori’s many distinguished artistic partners have included actor Kathleen Chalfant, mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke, the Cassatt String Quartet, the Prism Saxophone Quartet, and marimbist Makoto Nakura.

Maestro Shapiro was recently appointed to the advisory panel of a new national initiative, the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music. He was invited to Austin by the Grammy-nominated ensemble Conspirare to lead workshops and conduct as part of a regional festival presented under the aegis of the National Endowment for the Arts. He led a ten-day workshop at the triennial Choralies festival in Vaison-la-Romaine, France, which culminated in a sold-out performance of a version of Handel’s Saul in the 5000-seat Roman amphitheater.

Maestro Shapiro has been heard on PBS, conducting the soundtrack for Ric Burns’ special on New York City, as well as on radio stations WQXR and WNYC, and Sirius Satellite Radio, where he was interviewed by Robert Aubrey Davis. He was an invited conductor in the inaugural Sing of the New York Choral Consortium, and was for many years a conductor at the National Choral Council’s annual Messiah Sing-In at Avery Fisher Hall. He was a guest conductor for Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum, and for the New York Art Ensemble at Merkin Hall. His recording of Michael Dellaira’s opera Chéri, featuring Marni Nixon (the voice of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady) was released on Albany Records.

Maestro Shapiro is Associate Professor of Music at LIU Post. A long-time member of the faculty of Mannes College the New School for Music, Maestro Shapiro is also Director of the Conducting Program at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris. He teaches conducting at the Juilliard School (Evening Division).

Maestro Shapiro lectures frequently about music. Recent venues have included New York’s Harmonie Club and the Tilles Center on Long Island. Maestro Shapiro maintains a sideline as a narrator for orchestral performances, including Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf; he has also narrated a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida by the Bridgeport Symphony. Maestro Shapiro enjoys lecturing on Music and Mind, and has taught courses in this subject at the New School in New York; his 2014-15 season includes a colloquium at The New Jersey Institute of Technology.

“Adventurous programming, appealing music”   The New York Times

“Under his baton there was no problem that did not have a solution”   The New Jersey Star-Ledger

“Thrilling”   The Ashbury Park Press