ANDREW SHAPIRO

Composer and songwriter

Author

About

ANDREW SHAPIRO is a composer and songwriter blending his two biggest musical influences: '80s New Wave pop and Philip Glass minimalism.

Shapiro's music is regularly played on radio worldwide, and he has been featured in The New Yorker, ABC News, CNN, The Independent (UK), Gramophone, and WNYC, BBC and KCRW radio. His cinematic, cascading piano track Mint Green has proved wildly popular with over 14 million plays on Pandora Internet Radio.

Pink Jean Mint Green, a synthpop album featuring Bash Street Worlds, in collaboration with author Neil Gaiman, was released in 2016.

His stirring and emotional synth-pop debut album, Invisible Days, was chosen as one of the "Top 12" independently produced recordings of 2003 by Performing Songwriter magazine. Shapiro's three solo piano albums, Numbers, Colors and People, Intimate Casual and Piano 3, were created with Philip Glass producer Michael Riesman.

He has written original music for film and theater projects, and his music has appeared in a wide variety of national and international film and television productions ranging from reality TV to a Clio Award-winning spot for cancer awareness.

Other collaborations include Falls The Shadow with Daniil Simkin (at The Guggenheim Museum’s Works in Process series), Pink Jean Mint Green with Mario McNulty and Sterling Campbell, the Sundance Film Festival Award-winning documentary Watchers of the Sky, (dir. Edet Belzberg), the violin sonata The High Line with Gregory Fulkerson, and King Without a Crown with Mark Crozer of The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Shapiro has performed throughout America and Europe; highlights include The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), the Exit Festival (Serbia), TED, Bard College, Joe's Pub, Gracie Mansion, The New Fall Festival (Dusseldorf), Bargemusic and the Wordless Music Series at Le Poisson Rouge, New York. He was also the subject of a profile in the New York Times entitled "Quarter Pounder With Keys," describing his long-standing Sunday solo piano gig at McDonald's in downtown Manhattan from 2004-2012.

Shapiro releases his recordings through Airbox Music, a label he founded in 2003. His music is published by Airbox Music Publishing, LLC (ASCAP).

Shapiro is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Raised in Larchmont, New York, he lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with his wife and son.

Videos

Sheets

Interview

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

I can’t even imagine. Before going to Conservatory I went to a so-called regular university and thought my music was something that would be replaced by becoming a lawyer or businessman or something. But I was miserable without having music as the main thought in my life. There’s a saying that one ought to be an artist/musician for their life’s work only if one HAS TO. Like, they have no choice. I couldn’t imagine a life without being a musician.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

Absolutely not. There is so much music being made and there are so many incredible ways that what is considered “Classical” is being fused with other genres. One thing I’ve noticed is that there are people that get upset about “the classical music audience is getting old” and that it’s a dying art. But then there are really cool projects like the Seattle Symphony performing with Sir Mix-a-Lot which engages a completely new audience and brings people to the concert hall that had never been there before. But then the people who cry about “the classical music audience is getting old” say, “Well, this isn’t what we think a concert hall experience ought to be.” There’s a certain arrogance and close-mindedness that is in trouble. But not the reality.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Write really good music, get it recorded and performed with the best possible production quality and performance and just blow people away. There’s nothing else that can get people excited like that! There’s nothing more exciting than hearing music you love for the first time…

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

I tend to work on like 100 pieces at once. Seriously. And so they’re all at one stage of the pipeline and they’re completed and started and in various draft forms. And they come off a kind of assembly line in their own time. But sometimes there is no time to really think about the process. One HAS to get things done under deadline and so it’s just work work work without any thought as to process.

My favorite piece— well they’re all my children I think “Atlanta” from my Pink Jean Mint Green album, it’s an art-synthpop track. “Quiet Kissing” is a solo piano piece I adore. “Detectors in the Eyes” was a big breakthrough for me. “Mint Green” is by far my most popular piece and I love it. I wish I could do something like this again!

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

My first EP “Invisible Days” is having its 15 year anniversary. And it’s remixed/remastered. And then I’m taking these synthesizer-based tracks and adding string quartet versions of the same pieces. Always new piano music and new songs and new ambient instrumentals.