Already a rising star of his generation of artists, Michael Sheppard is "a wonderful musician and a totally phenomenal pianist." (Leon Fleisher, internationally renowned pianist and pedagogue.) Trained at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he studied with Mr. Fleisher and also with Ann Schein, who was a student of Artur Rubinstein and Dame Myra Hess.
As one of two 2003 Classical Fellows of the American Pianists Association he toured Southern Asia and the Middle East in collaboration with the Cultural Programs Division of the United States Department of State. Throughout the tour he played concerti with national orchestras, was guest soloist with resident chamber music groups, played public solo recitals as well as privaterecitals for the diplomatic community, gave masterclasses at higher Institutes of Music and conducted informal presentations in secondary schools and universities. Upon his return he made his Kennedy Center debut. Since then he has made his debuts with orchestras in the Midwest, Southeast, Soutwest and Pacific Northwest in addition to solo recitals, radio-broadcasts, and masterclasses throughout the nation and Europe, including several Weill (Carnegie) Hall recitals.
Sheppard has received critical acclaim as a grand interpreter of transcriptions of operatic tunes as well as American musical theatre in addition to the traditional piano repertory. Deeply committed to new music, he has worked closely with composers Nicholas Maw, Michael Hersch, Robert Sirota and John Corigliano. Sheppard is a composer in his own right and often programs his original compositions.
In addition to being a Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association, Sheppard has also been a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and the La Gesse Foundation and a prizewinner in the National Federation of Music Clubs National Competition. His recently-released album of contemporary American music for the Harmonia Mundi label has been getting rave reviews. A native of Philadelphia, he resides in Baltimore, where he is represented by Chesapeake International Artists. ~
Bear Machine Records announces Michael Sheppard's release12 Images: Prompted Improvisations for Piano Summer 2019
The world is full of phenomenal pianists, each generation playing the masterpieces of the past more brilliantly that the one before. But there was a time when virtuosos wrote and performed their own works, with even fewer still improvising ex tempore - on the spot - leaving listeners awash in the beauty of moments never to be repeated. Michael Sheppard is just such an artist, bringing forth music from the landscape of his imagination, conjuring a kaleidoscope of emotion through his mastery of the piano.
After hearing of Michael's power to wow audiences in recital halls and online alike, Bear Machine Records reached out to capture some of these fleeting musical moments late in the summer of 2018. Michael journeyed south to Florida, and the team worked tirelessly, eventually capturing over 80 different improvisations over just four days. 12 Images: Prompted Improvisations for Piano is the first collection from those sessions.