Shapero, Harold (Samuel)

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Shapero, Harold (Samuel)

Shapero, Harold (Samuel), American pianist, teacher, and composer; b. Lynn, Mass., April 29, 1920. After piano lessons with Eleanor Kerr, he studied composition with Slonimsky at the Malkin Cons. in Boston (1936–37), Krenek (1937), Piston at Harvard Univ. (1938–41), Hindemith at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (summers, 1940–41), and Boulanger at the Longy School (1942–43). In 1941 he received the American Prix de Rome for his 9-Minute Overture. He held Naumburg (1942), Guggenheim (1947, 1948), and Fulbright (1948) fellowships. In addition to his appearances as a pianist, he taught at Brandeis Univ. (from 1952), where he was founder-director of its electronic music studio. In some of his early scores, Shapero employed dodecaphonic techniques. On the whole, his music adhered to an austere Classical pattern, without excluding a highly emotional melodic line. His exceptional mastery of contrapuntal technique secured clarity of intermingled sonorities in his chamber music.

Works

ORCH.: 9-Minute Overture (1940; N.Y., June 8, 1941); Serenade for Strings (1945); Symphony for Classical Orchestra (1947; Boston, Jan. 30, 1948); Sinfonia: The Travelers Overture (1948); Concerto for Orchestra (1950); Credo (Louisville, Oct. 19, 1955); Lyric Dances (1955); On Green Mountain for Jazz Ensemble (1957; also for Orch., 1981); Partita for Piano and Small Orch. (1960). CHAMBER : String Trio (1938); 3 Pieces for 3 Pieces for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1939); Trumpet Sonata (1940); String Quartet (1941); Violin Sonata (1942); 3 Improvisations (1968), 3 Studies (1969), and 4 Pieces (1970) for Piano and Synthesizer. Piano : Sonata for Piano, 4-Hands (1941); 4 sonatas (1944, 1944, 1944, 1948); Variations (1947); American Variations (1950). VOCAL : 4 Baritone Songs (1942); 2 Psalms for Chorus (1952); Hebrew Cantata for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Chorus, Flute, Trumpet, Violin, Harp, and Organ (1954); 2 Hebrew Songs for Tenor and Piano (1970; also for Tenor, Piano, and String Orch., 1980).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire