Orchestral Suite #1

by Steve Shapiro

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released June 25, 2019


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Steve Shapiro Oakland, California

Steve Shapiro has composed music for hundreds of radio and TV commercials, documentary films, infomercials and other TV programs. He was the music director at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, which produced hundreds of award-winning educational films and recordings. He has a BA in Music from Brown University and an MA in Music from the Manhattan School of Music. ... more

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Track Name: Interfaith Chorale Instrumental
Interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions. The sad reality has been that most of the time Jews, Muslims and Christians have remained ignorant about each other, or worse, attacked each other. The common aim of all religions is to foster tolerance, altruism and love. Jews and Muslims are actually more united than divided in their core beliefs.

Religious pluralism is an attitude regarding the diversity of religious belief systems co-existing in society. One's own religion is not held to be the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus the acknowledgement that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.

The same can be said for politics. Political pluralism is the recognition and affirmation of diversity within a political body and permits the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions, and lifestyles. In the Trump era, it appears to be absent.

We human beings today face a stark choice: dialogue or death!
Track Name: Has the USA become an Oligarchy?
Today, America is less a bastion of representative democracy than a nation run by the desires of the super-wealthy. Aristotle pioneered the word "oligarchy" as meaning rule by the rich. He used the term to designate the rule of the few when it was exercised not by the best but by bad men unjustly.

In the early 20th century Robert Michels developed the theory that democracies have a tendency to turn into oligarchies. In his "Iron law of oligarchy" he suggests that the necessary division of labor in large organizations leads to the establishment of a ruling class mostly concerned with protecting their own power.

This was already recognized by the Athenians in the fourth century. After the restoration of democracy from oligarchical coups, they used the drawing of lots for selecting government officers to counteract that tendency toward oligarchy in government. They drew lots from large groups of adult volunteers to pick civil servants performing judicial, executive, and administrative functions.

Maybe it is time to draw lots.
Track Name: A Green New Deal
A Green New Deal is a bold transformation of the economy to tackle the twin crises of inequality and climate change. It would mobilize vast public resources to help us transition from an economy built on exploitation and fossil fuels to one driven by dignified work and clean energy. Climate change and inequality are inextricably linked. We cannot tackle one without addressing the other. A Green New Deal would take on both.

A Green New Deal seeks to solve the climate crisis by combining quick action to get to net- zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2030 along with an “Economic Bill of Rights” – the right to single-payer healthcare, a guaranteed job at a living wage, affordable housing and free college education.

The implementation of the Green New Deal will revive the economy, turn the tide on climate change and make wars for oil obsolete. That military savings of several hundred billion dollars per year would go a very long way toward creating green jobs at home.

As Donald Trump desperately tries to divide us, unions, environmental groups, and racial justice organizations are joining forces to chart the path for a Green New Deal. Timing is running out for such action. A Green New Deal may be our last and best hope.
Track Name: My Country Is In Ruins
"My country is in ruins. So I’m a fish in a poisoned fishbowl. I’m mostly just heartsick about this. There should have been hope. This should have been a great country. But we are despised all over the world now. I was hoping to build a country and add to its literature. That’s why I served in World War II, and that’s why I wrote books."

- Kurt Vonnegut 2007
Track Name: Election 2020
Elections are about the future. The 2020 election is about fear of the future - a weaker economy, a growing income divide, a degraded environment, and a broken political system. We fear that the U.S. will become less important in the world.
Track Name: Trump Is A Racist
Lets's be honest.

Donald Trump is a racist.

He began his campaign for the presidency by branding Mexicans as “rapists.” He initially declined to denounce David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. One week after his 2017 inauguration, the president temporarily banned people from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States. That summer, he said there were “very fine people” among torch-wielding white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville.

Donald Trump is a racist.

African countries are "shitholes". President Trump created a committee to help increase voter suppression of minority voters. People will languish in prison because of lack of concern for criminal justice reform and his knowledge that it disproportionately affects minorities.

Donald Trump is a racist.

In 1973, Trump was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for housing discrimination against black renters.

Donald Trump is a racist.

In 2011, Trump became the leading proponent of the already discredited "Birtherism" conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the US, and he repeated the claim for the following five years.

Donald Trump is a racist.

He was accused of racism for maintaining, as late as 2016, that a group of black and Latino teenagers were guilty of raping a white woman in the Central Park jogger case, although an imprisoned serial rapist had confessed in 2002 to raping the jogger alone, and DNA evidence confirmed his guilt.

Donald Trump is a racist.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.
Track Name: Foreboding of America
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness."

Carl Sagan - 1995
Track Name: Our Country Is Changing
The president of the United States is a racial bigot. His telling four non-white members of Congress "to go back to the countries they originally came from” is racist to the core.

Our country is changing — it's getting browner, as population growth slows among whites. Non-whites now make up a majority of kindergartners; by the next presidential election, the Census Bureau predicts they will be a majority of all children; and by 2044, no one racial group will be a majority of the country.

And as long as much of the country feels threatened by the changes they see, there will be a continuing, and perhaps growing, market for politicians like Trump. Will Trump's appeal to racism excite enough people to vote Republican come Election Day?
Track Name: The Age Of Loneliness
Loneliness has become an epidemic among young adults. It is just as great an affliction of older people. We have created a human society where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before. Loneliness is a major public health issue, a silent epidemic that's starting to kill us.

Profound changes in technology, work and community are transforming our social species into a population of loners. Work, which used to bring us together, now disperses us. Many people have neither fixed workplaces nor regular colleagues or regular hours. Our leisure time has undergone a similar transformation: cinema replaced by television, sports by computer games, "time with friends" by time on Facebook.

Social media seems to cut both ways: it brings us together and sets us apart. It helps us to stay in touch, but also cultivates a tendency that surely enhances other people’s sense of isolation: a determination to persuade your followers that you’re having a great time. Fear of missing out seems to be closely ­associated with loneliness.

The stress response triggered by loneliness raises blood pressure and impairs the immune system. Loneliness enhances the risk of depression, paranoia, addiction, cognitive decline, dem­entia, heart disease, stroke, viral infection, accidents and suicide. Loneliness impedes its own cure by breeding shame and shyness.

Strong relationships and strong connections to other people seem to be the key to a happy life. We cannot cope alone.
Track Name: Trump Isn't Forever
I feel like I am at the edge of the abyss, unable or unwilling to see beyond my ideologically world. I am experiencing political fatigue and losing energy to fight seemingly existential battles. I have a sense of dread about what’s going to happen next - a feeling of powerlessness.

The never-ending assault of “bad news” contributes to my deepening woes. Do I embrace the anxiety of unpredictable (yet potentially fulfilling) engagement with the new reality, or try to disconnect entirely?

It’s clear that Trump’s presidency has been a boon to many media outlets and progressive causes like the ACLU have seen a surge in donations. Getting off social media and turning off the tube could be advisable -- or at least reducing consumption.


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