Michael Sheppard is the new pianist for the Southern Symphony Orchestra’s concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23.  Sheppard will replace Petronel Malan who canceled due to a wrist injury.

Southern Symphony Orchestra, uSheppard-accentsnder the direction of Dr. Kexi Liu, will perform with prize-winning pianist Sheppard on April 23 at Taylor Performing Arts Center on MSSU campus.  On the program is Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, a well-known work for piano and orchestra by Russian composer Rachmaninoff.  Other works on the program are popular “Les Toreadors” from Carmen by French composer Bizet and Symphony No. 1 by Austrian composer Schubert.

 Already known as a pianist of dazzling virtuosity and penetrating musicianship, Michael Sheppard is also spreading his wings as a composer, arranger and transcriber. Trained by the legendary Leon Fleisher and the scholarly but passionate Ann Schein at the Peabody Conservatory, Michael was selected by the American Pianists Association as a Classical Fellow. This designation led to the recording of his Harmonia Mundi CD of 2007 and in late 2012 another recording was released by Azica, a Cleveland-based label distributed worldwide by Naxos Records.

 The APA fellowship provided a tour of Southern Asia and the Middle East, done in collaboration with the US Department of State. During this tour, he performed with numerous national orchestras, played chamber music with resident ensembles, and played in solo recitals as well as diplomatic events. He additionally found time to do master classes and conducted informal presentations in secondary schools and universities.

 Back in the U.S., Sheppard made his debut at the Kennedy Center and has since performed standard piano repertoire with numerous orchestras nationwide in addition to recitals, more master classes, broadcasts and chamber performances as a member of the Monument Trio. He has returned to Asia, Europe and performed at Carnegie Hall as well. Receiver of a Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship and another from the LaGesse Foundation, Sheppard took a major prize in the National Federation of Music Clubs National Competition.

 Sheppard is a native of Philadelphia and resides in Baltimore where he often enjoys performing chamber music with Baltimore Symphony Principal cellist Dariusz Skorazewski and Hong Kong Philharmonic Concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich in the Monument Trio. He is also a teacher at the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Master Class
Sheppard will teach a master class on Monday, from 2-4 p.m., at Corley Auditorium on MSSU campus.  Music major students Hayley Mullins, Sarah Tao, Tyler Graves, and Seth Ernst will perform at the master class.  The master class is open to the public and admission free.

Be a Maestro Winner
The winner of Southern Symphony Orchestra fundraising program “Be A Maestro!”, Jasmine Butcher, will appear in the concert and conduct “Les Toreadors” from Carmen by Bizet.  Ms. Butcher is an eighth-grader of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School and a student of Suzuki Violin Academy.

Admission to the concert is free.  Donations to the orchestra are very much appreciated 

For further information, please contact Southern Symphony Orchestra’s director Dr. Kexi Liu at 417-625-9681 or liu-k@mssu.edu.