Mark Shapiro was the guest conductor for the PEI Symphony performance in February 2013, and became Music Director of the PEI Symphony in May 2013.
A truly versatile conductor, Mark Shapiro is one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award four times, achieving the unique distinction of winning this 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.”
Shapiro is Music Director of the St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra in New York and Artistic Director of Cantori New York. His performances in Carnegie Hall with St. Cecilia have included works by Handel, Lauridsen, Mozart, and David Randolph. With Cantori New York Shapiro has conducted national, local and world premieres by an impressive roster of international composers. Cantori has been presented by Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Gotham Early Music Festival, Music at the Anthology, World Financial Center Arts&Events, American Opera Projects and others at venues including Zankel Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Avery Fisher Hall and the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center.
Shapiro enjoys working in opera and with orchestras as well as choruses. In recent seasons he conducted Poulenc’s comic opera Les mamelles de Tirésias at the Juilliard School, Bizet’s Les pecheurs de perles and Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia with the Opera Company of Middlebury (VT), and the staged premiere of Ben Yarmolinsky’s opera Clarence and Anita with Underworld Opera in New York. He has also conducted for American Opera Projects and the Center for Contemporary Opera at venues including the Rubin Museum in New York.
As an orchestral conductor, Shapiro led the Bridgeport Symphony in a concert featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Harolyn Blackwell. He is a principal guest conductor of the chamber orchestra Nova Sinfonia in Halifax, Nova Scotia, whom he has led in performances of symphonies and other orchestral works by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and many others.
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 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, was released on Albany Records.
Composers championed by Shapiro and Cantori New York include Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Pascal Dusapin, Maurice Ohana, Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, and Gottfried von Einem. Cantori has released four commercial recordings, on the Albany, Arsis, Newport Classics, and PGM labels. The group’s recording of Frank Martin’s oratorio Le vin herbé was an Opera News Editor’s Choice. Cantori has collaborated with distinguished artists including Michael Tilson Thomas, Sasha Cooke, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Tony Award Winner Maryann Plunkett, and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Armin Jordan.
Shapiro spent over two decades at the helm of the Monmouth Civic Chorus in Red Bank, NJ. Their collaborations encompassed major works for chorus and orchestra including the Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, and the Sea Symphony of Vaughan-Williams. The group ventured further afield for Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Szymanowki’s Stabat Mater, and offered noted revivals of the Mass in D by Dame Ethel Smyth and Peter Mennin’s Symphony no. 4, among many others. A recent highlight was the American premiere of Sphaera by the up-and-coming French composer Guillaume Connesson, which was supported by the French American Cultural Exchange.
Frequently in demand as a master teacher, consultant and clinician, Shapiro has participated in a Choral/Orchestral Conducting Master Class under the aegis of Chorus America. He was invited to Austin by the Grammy-nominated ensemble Conspirare to lead workshops and conduct Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man as part of a regional festival presented under the aegis of the National Endowment for the Arts. In August 2010 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.
Shapiro maintains a sideline as a narrator for orchestral performances, including Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. In 2011 he narrated a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida by the Bridgeport Symphony. He also enjoys lecturing on Music and Mind, and has taught courses in this subject at the New School in New York. Shapiro is Assistant Professor of Music at LIU Post, and has been a long-time member of the conducting faculty of Mannes College the New School for Music. He is Director of the Conducting Program at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France.
“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 Asbury Park Press
Orchestral / Instrumental Conducting Experience: