Our Staff


Matthew Sheppard

Artistic Director,  Youth Symphony

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.

Lidsay Wright

Lindsay Wright

Executive Director

Conductor, String Orchestra, Preparatory Strings

Lindsay Wright is a music educator and a scholar of musicology and education. As a teacher, she aims to cultivate a sense of joy and passion for music-making alongside the mindsets and perseverance necessary for performance at a high level. Her ongoing research into musical ability development continually informs her pedagogical approach.

In addition to working with the Hyde Park Youth Symphony since 2015, Dr. Wright conducts the Prelude ensemble of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. She has served as an instrumental music teacher for the School District of Philadelphia and as a private violin teacher, group instructor, and chamber coach in various contexts since 2008. In 2013, she co-founded the South Side Suzuki cooperative, also a partner of the Logan Center, which offers private violin, viola, and cello instruction and a range of other opportunities. She is active as a classical violinist, and has enjoyed learning a number of other genres including Carnatic violin, bluegrass, jazz, and pop. 

Dr. Wright received her PhD in musicology from the University of Chicago in 2018 and is currently serving as a postdoctoral fellow in the Humanities there, teaching courses in world music, media aesthetics, and the history of Western classical music. Her dissertation, “Discourses of Musical Talent in American Culture,” which received a fellowship from the National Academy of Education and the Spencer Foundation, argues that the concept of musical talent has been used to perpetuate systems of racial and socioeconomic privilege. Dr. Wright has also worked as an education researcher with CPS teachers and arts partners through Ingenuity, a Chicago-based arts education advocacy and research organization where she currently sits on the Collective Impact Panel for Data and Research. She holds a MEd in Multicultural Education and BA degrees in Music and African American studies.