Mark Shapiro, “the insightful conductor (who) draws subtle and dynamic playing” (The New York Times) from his musicians. Shapiro offers “spirit, flexibility and sensitivity in his conducting” (The Rutland Herald) of orchestras, choruses and opera, and is equally at home as a speaker, presenter and teacher. He has been in the vanguard of conductors engaging in relevant and vital ways with musicians, audiences and communities.
A six-time winner of an ASCAP Programming Award while at the helm of three different ensembles over a two-decade span, Shapiro is Music Director of The Prince Edward Island Symphony and The Cecilia Chorus of New York, which performs an annual series in Carnegie Hall; and he is Artistic Director of Cantori New York, which holds the unusual distinction of having appeared at all five major halls at Lincoln Center.
The New York Times has singled out Shapiro’s “spirit of adventure,” “virtuosity and assurance,” and the “uncommon polish” of his music-making, and the New Jersey Star-Ledger has characterized his artistic leadership as “erudite and far-reaching.” His repertoire interests are wide-ranging, embracing new music and standard repertoire from all over the globe, from the Middle Ages to the present day, as well as crossover (with popular Canadian artists Lennie Gallant, Catherine MacLellan, David Myles and The Paper Lions). He devises original programs interweaving music and spoken word; and he pioneered a highly successful model juxtaposing classical masterworks and popular artists. A dedicated advocate of women composers, Shapiro has particularly championed the work of Dame Ethel Smyth, conducting the long overdue New York premieres of her Mass in D and The Prison, both in Carnegie Hall.
A skilled linguist as well as a fluent musician, Shapiro has conducted multiple opera productions with Juilliard Vocal Arts, and has conducted opera with American Opera Projects, the Center for Contemporary Opera, Encompass New Opera Theatre, Hofstra Opera Theater, Mannes Opera, Underworld Opera, and the Opera Company of Middlebury. He is a frequent guest conductor for the Nova Sinfonia in Halifax. He is proud to have conducted the Carnegie Hall debuts of Julia Bullock, Ryan Speedo Green, Jennifer Rowley, William Guanbo Su and many others, and to have collaborated with outstanding talents including Harolyn Blackwell, Kathleen Chalfant, Sasha Cooke, Miranda Cuckson, Marni Nixon, the Prism Saxophone Quartet, Maryann Plunkett, Nadia Sirota, Stephen Spinella and more.
Shapiro has had performances and interviews on radio stations WNYC and WQXR, as well as on Sirius radio, and was heard on PBS leading the orchestral soundtrack for Ric Burns’s special on New York City. He has recorded for the Albany, Arsis, Newport Classics and PGM labels. His recording of Frank Martin’s oratorio Le vin herbé was an Opera News Editor’s Choice. His CD recording of music by Philip Glass with violinist Gregory Harrington and the Janacek Philharmonic will be released in 2020.
An impassioned pedagogue, Shapiro teaches conducting at the Juilliard School (Evening Division), Mannes School of Music, and Teachers College. He has been a guest conductor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and each summer he directs the conducting program of the European American Musical Alliance in Paris.
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