Artist Bio

Alex Shaw is a Philadelphia-based percussionist, sound artist/composer, cultural producer, and arts educator working in the field for over twenty years. Intercultural, interdisciplinary collaborations and compositions merging diverse percussion traditions, vocal textures, field recordings, and digital imagination encompass his current artistic focus. He was director of Brazilian band Alô Brasil and a section leader in the award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra for over 15 years. He has also been a guest performer with esteemed chamber ensembles Telegraph Quartet and GRAMMY-winning Imani Winds. He has also been commissioned to compose original music and sound design for film, theater and dance productions, as well as media installations. Alex is the former Artistic Director for Intercultural Journeys (2014-2020) and has curated and produced dozens of performances and cultural programs.

Passionate about the transformative power of arts education, his career as a teaching artist spans more than two decades, facilitating workshops, arts residencies, and professional development trainings from the mid-Atlantic region to Hawai’i. Alex is a lead teaching artist for Young Audiences NJ & Eastern PA and World Cafe Live, the latter of which he has also served as a founding board member since 2008. In addition to his formative experience as an accompanist for numerous university dance programs, he has taught Brazilian percussion courses at University of the Arts, Temple University, Swarthmore College, and California Institute of the Arts. His teachers include Kahlil Cummings, Randy Gloss, Giba Conceição, Bernardo Aguiar, Gabriel Policarpo, Eduardo Santos, Nani Agbeli, Mestre Cobra Mansa, and Mestre Valmir Damasceno, among others. Alex holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA in World Percussion from the California Institute of the Arts.