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Craig Sheppard (Piano)

Born: November 26, 1947 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

The American pianist, Craig Sheppard, studied initially with Dr. Lois Hedner and Susan Starr. He then attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia as a student of Eleanor Sokoloff, and earned both his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Juilliard School in New York, studying with Sascha Gorodnitzki. In addition to working privately with Claude Frank and Lillian Kallir during summers at Tanglewood, Sheppard studied subsequently with Ilona Kabos, Peter Feuchtwanger, and Sir Clifford Curzon in London, and also worked with Rudolf Serkin and Pablo Casals at the Marlboro Festival.

Following a highly successful New York début at the Metropolitan Museum in 1972, Craig Sheppard won the silver medal that year at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition in England. Moving to London in 1973, he quickly established himself through recording and frequent appearances on BBC radio and television as one of the preeminent pianists of his generation, giving cycles of J.S. Bach's Klavierubung and the complete solo works of Johannes Brahms in London and other musical centers. During the twenty years he lived in England, he also taught at Lancaster University, the Yehudi Menuhin School, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in addition to giving master-classes at both Oxford and Cambridge universities.

For over fourty years, Craig Sheppard has maintained a strong and enduring presence in the classical music world, with his unique combination of ebulliance and passionate energy, allied to a technical mastery and scholarly objectivity. He featured with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in the opening concerts of the 1996-1997 season at the Opera House, along with the violinist Midori. He appeared with the the same orchestra 1998 in their inaugural season at Benaroya. In April 1999, he gave his long-awaited recital début at the Berlin Philharmonic, also to great critical acclaim. In 1999, he was presented by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in a highly acclaimed series of lecture/recitals at the Benaroya Hall. He has had a high profile in recent summers at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, playing the world premiere of Richard Danielpour's Songs of the Night among many works from the standard chamber music repertoire. He also performs regularly at the Park City (Utah) International Festival, and has taught and performed for a number of summers at the Heifetz International Music Institute in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (formerly Annapolis, Maryland).

Craig Sheppard has made eight trips to the Far East since June 2002 - five to Japan, one each to China, Korea and Taiwan - giving lectures, master-classes and concerts in major venues and univerisities. On May 18, 2004, he wound up a seven-concert series in Seattle's Meany Theater that was dedicated to the 32 L.v. Beethoven Piano Sonatas, a popular series that met with great critical acclaim. In March, 2008, Sheppard appeared for the second time in the Hunter Council Chambers of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, performing Book II of J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier (BWV 870-893), a work he recorded subsequently in Seattle's Meany Theater in April, 2008 (released on Romeo Records in November, 2008). In May, 2008, he gave solo recitals and master-classes in four major cities in The Peoples' Republic of China - Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Shenzhen.

Craig Sheppard has performed with all the major orchestras in Great Britain, as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, among others in the USA, and with such conductors as Sir Georg Solti, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Andrew Davis, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Erich Leinsdorf, Kurt Sanderling, Neeme Järvi, Hans Vonk, Aaron Copland, David Zinman, Gerard Schwarz and Peter Erös.

Craig Sheppard's repertoire is extensive, encompassing over forty solo recital programs and sixty concerti. In the past several seasons, in addition to J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier and the 32 L.v. Beethoven sonatas (in a series entitled Beethoven: A Journey), his recital programs have included the complete Etudes of Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Debussy, and such major works as J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) and L.v. Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, the complete Robert Schumann’s Novelettes, and Ravel's Miroirs and Gaspard de la Nuit (which appeared on CD). Over the years, his work with singers such as Victoria de Los Angeles, José Carreras, and Irina Arkhipova; trumpeter Wynton Marsalis; and ensembles such as the Cleveland, Bartok, and Emerson string quartets, has also constituted an important and ongoing element in his musical life.

Since 2005, Sheppard's recordings have appeared on the Roméo label (www.romeorecords.com). He has recorded on the EMI (Classics for Pleasure), Polygram (Philips), Sony, Chandos and Cirrus labels. Five CD's, all of live performances - including his Berlin performance of the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), L.v. Beethoven's Diabelli Variations plus the Scriabin Fifth Sonata, Chopin and Scriabin Préludes, five Scarlatti Sonatas coupled with the Opus 39 Etudes Tableaux of S. Rachmaninov, and a Robert Schumann disc including the complete Novelettes of Opus 21 - have recently been issued on the label AT (Annette Tangermann)/Berlin (at-label@gmx.de).

Craig Sheppard has appeared on numerous national and international piano competition juries. He is well known for his broad academic interests, particularly foreign languages. Since 1993, he is Professor of Piano at the School of Music of the University of Washington in Seattle.


More Photos

Source: Craig Sheppard Website; The Artist (August 2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2006); Craig Sheppard (August 2009)

Craig Sheppard: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Craig Sheppard plays Bach Keyboard Partitas [Morrison] | An Outstanding Recording of Bach's Keyboard Partitas [Satz]

Links to other Sites

Craig Sheppard, piano - Official Home Page

University of Washington School of Music: Craig Sheppard

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Last update: ęDecember 7, 2013 ę14:42:32