Already known as a pianist of dazzling virtuosity and penetrating musicianship, Michael Sheppard is today spreading his wings as a composer, arranger and transcriber. Trained by the legendary Leon Fleisher and Ann Schein at the Peabody Conservatory, Michael was selected by the American Pianists Association as a Classical Fellow. This designation led to the recording of his Harmonia Mundi CD of 2007 and in 2015, another recording will be released by Azica Records, a Cleveland-based label distributed worldwide by Naxos.
The APA fellowship provided a tour of Southern Asia and the Middle East, done in collaboration with the US Department of State. During this tour, he performed with numerous national orchestras including the national Orchestra of Sri Lanka, played chamber music with resident ensembles, and played in solo recitals as well as diplomatic events. He additionally found time to do master classes and conducted informal presentations in secondary schools and universities.
Back in the US, Mr. Sheppard made his debut at the Kennedy Center and has since performed standard piano repertoire with numerous orchestras nationwide including the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Indianapolis, Tucson, Toledo, Santa Fe, Lancaster and Greenville, in addition to recitals, more master classes and broadcasts. He also appeared in chamber performances for a number of years with the Monument Trio which included Baltimore Symphony Principal cellist Dariusz Skorzewski and Associate concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich. He has returned to Asia, Europe and performed at Carnegie Hall as well. Receiver of a Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship and another from the LaGesse Foundation, Sheppard took a major prize in the National Federation of Music Clubs National Competition.
As an interpreter of great acclaim of operatic transcriptions and musical theater scores, Michael Sheppard today stands at a crossroads, spending large amounts of time writing as well as performing and teaching. He has worked closely with fellow composers John Corigliano, Christopher Theofanidis, Michael Hersch, Robert Sirota and with the late Nicholas Maw, demonstrating a deep love of new music. His catalogue of works now numbering in the dozens, will be published and marketed by a new entrepreneurial music publishing company soon.
Michael Sheppard is a native of Philadelphia and resides in Baltimore where he often enjoys performing chamber music with such luminaries as flutist Marina Picininni. He is also a teacher at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
" … Sheppard showed off his technical elan and interpretive breadth. … Sheppard's performance was notable especially for the tension and heightened lyricism he achieved in the finale; his superb control of the crescendo passages had a lot to do with that expressive force.
… a potent, absorbing account of a venerable keyboard classic.
… The pianist sculpted the most tender variations of the second movement and the enigmatic finale with particular sensitivity.
A prolific composer, Sheppard also added one of his own works to the mix, "Invitation to Travel" … a keen exploitation of the piano's coloristic possibilities. The performance was, of course, authoritative.""
a virtuosic soloist possessed of power, sensitivity, earthiness, and humor."