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.
Each day began by recording a free improvisation, with no direction or input. But as Michael let the production team know he enjoyed interacting with his listeners, and the team decided to incorporate that into the recordings. Quickly the sessions turned into a musical magic show, with the production team shouting out images, vignettes, and anecdotes only to see where they would lead Michael. From anguish to nostalgia, revelation to reflection, emptiness to awe, Michael Sheppard painted pictures that are impossible for any listener to mistake, all in one take.
When Michael Sheppard isn't improvising at the piano you'll find him in Baltimore, MD where he teaches at the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. A virtuoso in the traditional sense, Michael has performed across the globe with several stops at the Kennedy Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall along his way. In addition to his own compositions and improvisations, Michael has a long standing interest in new music working with fellow composers John Corigliano, Christopher Theofanidis, Michael Hersch, Robert Sirota and the late Nicholas Maw. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he studied with Ann Schein and the legendary Leon Fleischer, Michael has been making up music at the piano since age 2.