"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 Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, 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, Franz Welser-Möst, Andris Nelsons, 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.
Shepherd’s recent orchestral work Express Abstractionism has been performed across the continents by Boston Symphony Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, led by Andris Nelsons, and recorded by Boston Symphony Orchestra for Naxos Records. Other recent highlights include his new saxophone quintet Sonata à 5 for the Music Academy of the West; Melt for orchestra, which premiered at the Grand Teton Music Festival, led by Donald Runnicles; Echo for oboist Nicholas Daniel at the Aldeburgh Festival; wideOPENwide for violinist Jennifer Koh; and Concerto for Ensemble, which premiered at the Philharmonie de Paris, with Matthias Pintscher conducting Ensemble intercontemporain. Planned upcoming premieres in 2021 include String Quartet No. 3 for the Gewandhaus Quartet, a large-scale work for flutist Joshua Smith and percussionist Jacob Nissly at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and a major new piece for the Dresdner Festspiele and Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, with cellist Jan Vogler and Kent Nagano conducting.
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 continues to find enormous success with 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.
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