American composer Harold Shapero was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on 29 April 1920, learning piano as a child, playing in dance orchestras and (with a friend) founding the Hal Kenny Orchestra. He went to Harvard at age eighteen, befriending Leonard Bernstein and studying composition with Walter Piston. Shapero also studied with Paul Hindemith and Nadia Boulanger, and received advice from Stravinsky and Copland.
Shapero was particularly active in the 1940s, writing a forty-five minute symphony which was premiered by Bernstein and revived in 1986 by André Previn. Shapero taught at Brandeis University for thirty-seven years, becoming chairman of the department and founding an electronic music studio.
He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 17 May 2013, aged ninety-three.