Alex Shawver is a composer and pedagogue based in North Texas. Growing up in a musical family meant that there has hardly been a silent moment from the very beginning of his life. Early interest in jazz and Latin rock and a traditional Texas high school band experience combined with a lifetime of piano lessons and a passion for the music of Claude Debussy formed a cosmopolitan array of influences on his development as a teacher and composer.
In most recent years, Alex has been particularly interested in 20th- and 21st-Century American music, especially that of the Minimalist movement associated with living composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and John Adams. As a percussionist as well as a pianist, he draws inspiration from both the rich mass of historic keyboard repertoire and the constant exposure to new ideas in the percussion paradigm. He’s obsessed with rhythm and strives to utilize unique timbres to contribute color to a musical fabric just as much as, if not more than, the more obvious components of melody and harmony.
As a pedagogue, Alex has a passion for contributing to the repertoire of educational music aside from only writing for the concert hall. In Spring 2016, he won a research grant from Texas A&M University – Commerce to conduct an analysis of over 100 works by acclaimed modern American composers to find quality works accessible to student-level pianists and presented his results at the 2016 Texas Music Teachers Association conference in Dallas.
Alex is currently studying Composition and Theory Pedagogy at the graduate level at Southern Methodist University where he also plays in the SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble and the Meadows Percussion ensemble. He has previously studied composition with Dr. Ted Hansen and Dwayne Rice, and at SMU has studied with Dr. Kevin Hanlon, Dr. Rob Frank, and Dr. Lane Harder. In addition to composing and teaching, he also plays as a supplemental percussionist for the Sherman Symphony Orchestra. Alex has a B. M. in Piano Pedagogy from Texas A&M – Commerce where he studied piano performance with Dr. Luis Sanchez, piano pedagogy with Libby Vanatta, and percussion with Dr. Brian Zator.