Percussionist / Composer / Vocalist
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 is the director of renowned Brazilian ensemble, Alô Brasil, and was a section leader in the award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra for over a decade, sharing stages with Zakir Hussain, Rennie Harris, and Yacouba Sissoko among others. Alex has produced dozens of public performances and cultural programs including Consciência Negra: The Legacy of Black Consciousness in Brazil, a 3-day symposium at Swarthmore College in 2016 that culminated with his original interdisciplinary production, The Mandinga Experiment, in homage to Capoeira Angola and its legacy of cultural resistance. He is a faculty member at University of the Arts, the former Artistic Director for Intercultural Journeys (2014-2020), and Co-Director of Modupúe | Ibaye: The Philadelphia Yoruba Performance Project. Alex is also a founding board member and lead teaching artist for World Cafe Live’s education programs since 2008. He has received several competitive artist grants and an Emerging Legacy Award at the UPenn MLK Commemorative Symposium for Social Justice. Some of his teachers include Randy Gloss, Kahlil Cummings, Eduardo Santos, Nani Agbeli, Bernardo Aguiar, and Mestre Cobra Mansa, among many others. Alex holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA in World Percussion from the California Institute of the Arts.