Guest Artist

Craig Sheppard

In October 2017, Craig Sheppard was appointed Professor of Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Chinese National Schools of Music and the China Conservatory, a position he will hold for three years.  Since 1993, Sheppard has been Professor of Piano at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle.  Born in Philadelphia in 1947, he graduated both the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the Juilliard School in New York, studying with Eleanor Sokoloff and Sasha Gorodnitzki respectively.  During summers at the renowned Marlboro Music Festival, he also worked with Rudolf Serkin and Pablo Casals, and toured the United States in the Music from Marlboro series.  Later, in London, he studied with Ilona Kabos, Peter Feuchtwanger, and Sir Clifford Curzon.


In 1972, Sheppard gave his New York début at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Six months later, he won the Silver Medal at the Leeds International Piano Competition, launching his international career.  Moving to the UK the following year and living there until 1993, Sheppard taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Yehudi Menuhin School for gifted children, and performed with all the major orchestras throughout Great Britain on multiple occasions, plus many on the European continent, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the orchestra of La Scala, Milan.   During his years in Great Britain, he recorded several LPs for the EMI/Classics for Pleasure label, including the 3rd Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto with the London Philharmonic, conducted by Sir John Pritchard.  In the United States, he has appeared over the years with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Rochester, Seattle and Dallas, among many others, and with many leading conductors, including Erich Leinsdorf, Sir Georg Solti, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Sanderling, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir John Pritchard, Sir Andrew Davis, Leonard Slatkin and David Zinman.


Sheppard travels frequently throughout the Far East to give concerts and masterclasses, as well as New Zealand, where he has performed on three occasions.  He has also performed at the Nehru Memorial Library in New Delhi, India.  In 2012, he held a two-week residency at the Melba Conservatory of the University of Melbourne in Australia.  In June of 2016, Sheppard performed the 24 Preludes and Fugues, Opus 87, of Shostakovich at the Royal College of Music in London, then performed the Shostakovich and gave masterclasses at the Jerusalem Music Center at the behest of Murray Perahia, their President.  In June of 2017, Sheppard returned to the Jerusalem Music Center for a series of masterclasses, and in August gave a two-week residency (including a performance of the Shostakovich, Opus 87) at the Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, UK. In October, 2017, Sheppard gave the first of a series of residencies at the China Conservatory in Beijing, and performed at Tsinghua University.  Concerts in February, 2018, of Bach’s Art of the Fugue culminated in a recording of the Bach in Seattle’s Meany Theater.  In March of 2018, he returned to Jerusalem to perform The Art of the Fugue, then traveled to Hong Kong for a masterclass at their Music Academy, before performing in Tianjin and taking up his second residency at the China Conservatory of Music. In demand as chamber musician, Sheppard has collaborated over the years with many of the great musicians of the days, including Wynton Marsalis, José Carreras, Victoria de los Angeles, Irina Arkhipova, Sylvia Rosenberg, Mayumi Fujikawa, Lydia Mordkovich, James Ehnes, Johannes Moser, Richard O’Neill and the Emerson, Cleveland, Bartok, Chilingirian and Mirò String Quartets.


In 2010, Sheppard founded the annual Seattle Piano Institute with his colleague Dr. Robin McCabe, an intense piano workshop for aspiring young pianists held every July at the School of Music of the University of Washington, now coming into its ninth highly successful season (www.seattlepianoinstitute.org).    His many students over the years, both in Great Britain and this country, are employed in music schools and universities throughout the world.


Sheppard’s discography is prolific, and his most recent discs can be found on the Roméo label (www.romeorecords.com).  He has also recorded for Sony, Philips, Chandos, and other major labels over the years.  More info can also be had on Sheppard’s website, www.craigsheppard.net.