Alex Shaw is a percussionist, vocalist, composer, curator, and arts educator specializing in Brazilian music traditions. An alumnus of Swarthmore College, Alex settled in Philadelphia in 2000 and soon became deeply embedded in the dynamic community of percussion and drumming.
He is a long-standing member of Philadelphia's award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and Director of Brazilian ensemble, Alô Brasil. A freelance arts educator since 2001, Alex has taught, lectured, and performed regularly throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and has also worked as an accompanist for several dance companies and universities. Since 2008, Alex has served LiveConnections as both a board member and a lead facilitator for their music education programming. He joined the music faculty at the University of the Arts in 2010, and in 2014 Alex also became curator for Intercultural Journeys.
He has been awarded several competitive artist grants to support his music research and study in Brazil, including Arts International’s Artist Exploration Fund (2004) and the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2007). In 2012 he was honored with an Emerging Legacy Award at the UPenn MLK Commemorative Symposium for Social Justice. In his most recent artistic project, presented in 2014 by Intercultural Journeys, Alex directed a collaborative tribute to the cultural legacy of the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira Angola. This project featured original compositions and contemporary arrangements of traditional capoeira songs combined with vintage live visuals.