Nationally recognized 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.
Shapiro works with orchestras, opera companies, and choruses. He is Music Director of the Prince Edward Island Symphony and a frequent Guest Conductor of the Nova Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra in Halifax. He has conducted several operas for Juilliard Vocal Arts. Other appearances include American Opera Projects, The Center for Contemporary Opera, the Opera Company of Middlebury, and Underworld Opera.
Shapiro is Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York, one of New York’s longest-established choral societies, which annually performs a subscription season at Carnegie Hall. He is Artistic Director of the award-winning chamber chorus Cantori New York, and led the Monmouth Civic Chorus for over two decades.
Shapiro is Associate Professor of Music at LIU Post, where he has received the Krasnoff Award, the University’s highest academic honor, and is on the conducting faculties of Mannes College the New School for Music and the Juilliard School (Evening Division). Each summer he directs the conducting program of the European American Musical Alliance, in Paris.
As a pianist, soprano, and conductor, Nicole Becker has performed in concerts and recitals throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan. Dr. Becker received an undergraduate degree in Biology from Yale University, a Masters of Music in Piano from Indiana University, and a Doctor of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also studied piano at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Music and Music Education Program at Teachers College, where she teaches Piano and Choral Pedagogy. Dr. Becker also directs the Teachers College Lab Chorus, which she co-founded with Jeanne Goffi-Fynn in 2008. Dr. Becker has taught general music at the elementary and middle school levels, and is certified in Orff and Kodaly methods. Her research interests include student-centered approaches in ensemble settings; narrative autoethnography as a methodology for teacher research; and borrowing lenses of neuroscience and cognitive science to interpret teaching and learning in the applied lesson setting.
Virginia Allen has conducted ensembles on stages around the U.S. and in Europe, South America, and Asia. As a pioneer for women in military bands, she was the first woman conductor of The U.S. Army Field Band and The Soldiers' Chorus in Washington, D.C., The U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, The U.S. Army Forces Command Band in Atlanta, and the West Point Glee Club. She also founded and conducted the Philadelphia Wind Symphony.
A former conducting faculty member at Juilliard, The Curtis Institute of Music, and University of the Arts, Dr. Allen was Artistic Director of the Juilliard Conducting Workshop for Music Educators. She was also Artistic Director of the Sun Valley Summer Music Workshops in Idaho, where she conducted the Sun Valley Youth Orchestra.
Dr. Allen studied French horn and conducting and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music degree in Performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and a Diploma in Wind Conducting from the University of Calgary. She received a Doctor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where her dissertation topic was Developing Expertise in Professional American Orchestra Conductors.