Efrat is a professional violinist, violist, singer, arranger and composer with performance experience in many styles and situations. She resides in New York and works as a performing artist and teacher.
The songs on Efrat’s sophomore release, The Silver Lining, are a blend of many styles – including folk, jazz, pop, klezmer, swing, and blues. Their lyrics and structure are a testament to finding strength during the trials of life and leaning on those around you for help.
Efrat Shapira took up the violin at age 7 and was immediately drawn to the beauty within the variation of so many musical styles. Three years later, she became the youngest person to play solo with the Oak Ridge Symphony, and at age 11 was the youngest person ever admitted into the Knoxville Youth Orchestra. As her musical studies progressed, she was especially enthralled by groups like the Kronos Quartet who were blending jazz, classical, and African musical styles, but also enjoyed everything from Mozart to Madonna (who remains one of her idols today). She learned klezmer and Israeli music from her father, dabbled in folk and rock with a cellist-singing buddy who lived down the street, and took every opportunity to learn and play bluegrass, country, and any other genre with which she came into contact. Accepted into and offered full scholarships by the top classical violin schools in the country, Efrat settled on Indiana University. While pursuing her BA there, she also was a member of the Shira Festival Orchestra in Israel, conducted by Zubin Mehta under the direction of Lorin Maazel. After a forced break from music due to injury, she resumed her studies at the University of Tennessee, from which she received a master’s degree in Music Performance. During this time, she also established her first group as a bandleader and was the first violinist in The Rusty Strings jazz quintet (led by Rusty Holloway).
After graduation, Efrat, who grew up in the South and is featured in the book Cumberland Avenue Revisited, an anthology about four decades of music in Knoxville, Tennessee, moved to NYC to continue her career in music. After a stint as concertmaster for Olivia Newton John Orchestras, she re-established the Jade Quartet that has recorded for such notables as Ashanti and Bobbie Eakes (All My Children, One Life to Live soap operas). Efrat also pursued her love of singing and jazz with No Strings Attached, her debut CD. She began recording it in 2007 but then toured 47 states and Canada as an onstage violinist in the Broadway touring company of Oliver, for which she received rave reviews. Meanwhile, the title track for No Strings Attached was included in the movie soundtrack for How To Seduce Difficult women and featured in its trailer that garnered more than eight million views or listens worldwide.
At this point, Efrat became a new mother, took a break from being a bandleader, and then was recruited into the alt-roots ensemble Spuyten Duyvil for a few years. She also worked with and recorded for other bands. She’s now back focusing on her own creative musical pursuits and feeling rejuvenated after finding the silver lining in life.