Composer Alex Shapiro wrote Paper Cut with young musicians’ taste in mind and created a piece that is reminiscent of a movie soundtrack to which the players can imagine their own dramatic scene. Paper Cut is written to make the players themselves part of the action with choreographed maneuvers that look as compelling as they sound. In fact, the band members don’t even play their instruments until halfway into the piece – instead they “play” paper along with a prerecorded track!

Music isn’t just melody; it’s rhythm and texture as well. The unusual element of paper and the myriad sounds that can emerge from something so simple offers a fresh view of what music-making can be and opens everyone’s ears to the sonic possibilities found among everyday objects.

Although Paper Cut was composed with middle schoolers in mind, it’s also suited to more advanced musicians, since the paper techniques and the skill of playing against a prerecorded track are interesting for all ages.

Ms. Shapiro is delighted to introduce a new approach to concert wind band repertoire, and hopes that conductors and band members have as much fun with this piece as she had creating it.


3-B-flat Trumpet 1
3-B-flat Trumpet 2
4-F Horn
3-Trombone 1
3-Trombone 2
9-Bb Clarinet
2-Baritone B.C.
1-Bb Bass Clarinet
2-Baritone T.C.
4-Eb Alto Saxophone
2-Bb Tenor Saxophone
1-Electric Bass
1-Eb Baritone Saxophone

1-Crash Cymbals

1-Snare Drum

1-Bass Drum

Meet The Composer

Alex Shapiro (b. New York City, 1962) composes acoustic and electroacoustic pieces known for their lyricism and drama. Her music is heard daily in concerts and broadcasts across the U.S. and internationally, and can be found on over twenty commercially released CDs from record labels around the world.Educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music as a student of Ursula Mamlok and John Corigliano, Alex spent the first fifteen years of her professional life scoring feature films, television and documentary projects in Los Angeles.

Alex is an ardent advocate for other artists through her speaking appearances, published articles, and community involvement.  She is the Symphonic and Concert writer representative on the Board of Directors of ASCAP, a board member of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and The ASCAP Foundation, and is a member of the Program Council for New Music USA. Shapiro has also served on the boards of U.S. music organizations including The American Music Center, the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, The MacDowell Colony, and The Society of Composers & Lyricists. Raised in Manhattan and later a longtime resident of Malibu, California, Alex now lives on Washington State’s remote San Juan Island. When she’s not composing she can be found communing with the sea life, as seen on her music and photo-filled blog, and her website,

About The Premiere

This piece was workshopped January to June 2010 with the Friday Harbor Middle School Band in Friday Harbor, WA under the direction of Janet Olsen.