With his passionate enthusiasm for both music and education, Matthew Sheppard conducts and teaches across the Chicago area and abroad. He serves as Artistic Director of HPYS and the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as Music Director of the University Chamber Orchestra at the University of Chicago and the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago.
In the past year, Sheppard has guest conducted orchestras in North and South America, including the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Paraguay, the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra. As a teacher, he inspires students to nurture a deeper love and understanding of music and performing through his own passion, musicianship, and conducting. Sheppard serves as a committee member for the Illinois Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (IL CMP) project as they encourage “teaching with intention, and performing with understanding.”
Sheppard studied with Donald Schleicher as a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Illinois, and before that earned his master’s degree in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of Gerardo Edelstein at Penn State University. During that time, he held appointments as Orchestra Director at Juniata College, Music Director of the State College Summer Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra (CPYO). In 2010, he founded the State College Summer Orchestra, a community orchestra that has since offered three years of benefit concerts. In 2013, they presented four world premieres, including a commission by Efraín Amaya for the orchestra and cello soloist Kim Cook.
Sheppard holds bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts, Music Education, and Violin Performance from Penn State where he studied with Max Zorin.