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Sean Shepherd

Photo credit: Jamie Kingham
b.1979, Reno, NV



"An exciting composer of the new American generation" (New York Times), Sean Shepherd has earned wide acclaim and commissions from major ensembles and performers across the US and Europe. In 2012, Shepherd was named the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural Kravis Emerging Composer, and has previously served as the Daniel R. Lewis Composer Fellow at the Cleveland Orchestra and composer-in-residence of the Reno Philharmonic.

His music has been commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Maison symphonique de Montréal, National Symphony Orchestra, and New World Symphony Orchestra, and with leading European ensembles including Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Conductors who champion Shepherd’s work include Kent Nagano, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, and Franz Welser-Möst; distinguished composer-conductors Oliver Knussen and George Benjamin; and young stars Pablo Heras-Casado, Susanna Mälkki, and Matthias Pintscher. His works have been performed at festivals in Aldeburgh, Heidelberg, La Jolla, Lucerne, Santa Fe, Aspen, and Tanglewood.

During the 2017–2018 season, Shepherd has composed a new orchestral work called Express Abstractionism for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, as part of a new musical exchange between the two orchestras, led by Andris Nelsens. Express Abstractionism, their first joint commission, premiered in February with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and receives its European premiere with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in August.

Other recent premieres include Echo (2017) for oboist Nicholas Daniel at the Aldeburgh Festival, wideOPENwide (2016) for violinist Jennifer Koh, Concerto for Ensemble (2015) for Ensemble Intercontemporain, String Quartet No. 2 (2015) for Santa Fe Music Festival and La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, and Songs (2014) for the New York Philharmonic. Shepherd’s Magiya, written for Carnegie Hall’s inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, toured the US and Europe in 2013 with Maestro Gergiev and has since found enormous success in performances by several major orchestras around the world.

Shepherd’s education includes degrees in composition and bassoon performance from Indiana University, a master’s degree from The Juilliard School, and doctoral work at Cornell University with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

—September 2017

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.
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