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Early life and education
The son of Jeanne Linton and George Edgar Sheppard, Sheppard was raised in Jenkintown, PA, and graduated Abington High School in 1965. He studied with Eleanor Sokoloff at the Curtis Institute from 1965–68 and Sasha Gorodnitzki at the Juilliard School from 1968–71, graduating from the latter with Bachelor of Music and Master of Science degrees. In 1968, he won the Bronze Medal in the Busoni Competition. In 1972, he won the Silver Medal at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, which started his international career. He later won a Bronze medal in the Dino Ciani Piano Competition (1975).
Living in London from 1973 to 1993, Sheppard continued his studies with Peter Feuchtwanger and Sir Clifford Curzon, and performed with major British orchestras on multiple occasions, as well as many on the European continent. During those years, he taught at Lancaster University, the Yehudi Menuhin School, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He also gave frequent masterclasses at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. Sheppard returned to the United States in 1993 to take up a position as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle, becoming a Full Professor there in 2004. In the past fifteen years, Sheppard has traveled extensively to the Far East, performing and giving master classes in Japan, Korea, China and Singapore. In 2012, he performed at the Nehru Memorial Library in New Delhi, and undertook a residency at the Melba Conservatory of the University of Melbourne. He also performed for the third time in New Zealand.
Sheppard's repertoire comprises over forty recital programs and sixty-five concerti. Recent performances of the 2014-15 season highlighted the 24 Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich, which he performed in Houston, San Francisco, Oberlin, Shanghai, Beijing (the Forbidden City), and Seattle's Meany Theater. During the 2015-16 season, he will perform the cycle in London, New York, and Jerusalem, in addition to several American universities.
In the United States, Sheppard has performed with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, and Rochester, amongst others. Conductors he has worked with include Erich Leinsdorf, Sir Georg Solti, Kurt Sanderling, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir John Pritchard, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen and David Zinman. In his collaborative work, over the years he has performed with the Bartók, Cleveland and Emerson string quartets, singers Victoria de los Angeles, José Carreras, Renato Bruson and Irina Arkhipova, violinists Ida Haendel, Sylvia Rosenberg and Mayumi Fujikawa, and many musicians of the younger generation, including James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Richard O’Neill, Edward Arron and Johannes Moser.
Since 2000, Sheppard has published an average of more than one CD per calendar year, all of live performances. The earlier CDs were issued on the AT (Annette Tangermann) Label in Berlin. Since 2004, his CDs have been issued by Roméo Records in New York.
His CDs can be found on the EMI (Classics for Pleasure), Philips/Polygram, CBS/Sony, ASV, AT-Label, and Roméo labels.
- Liszt Sonata in B minor, Consolation in D flat, Petrarch Sonnets 104 and 123, 12th Hungarian Rhapsody
- Liszt Operatic Transcriptions and Paraphrases (Tannhäuser Overture, Am stillen Herd from Die Meistersinger, Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, Rigoletto, Miserere from Il Trovatore, and Norma Paraphrase)
- Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 - with Sir John Pritchard and the London Philharmonic.
- Jolivet Concertino for Trumpet, Piano and String Orchestra (with Wynton Marsalis)
- Chopin - Two Nocturnes, Opus 27; Waltz in A flat, Opus 34/1; Impromptu in F sharp, Opus 36; Impromptu in G flat, Opus 51; Barcarolle, Opus 60; Polonaise in A flat, Opus 53.
- Prokofiev - The two violin sonatas and Cinq Melodies (with Mayumi Fujikawa)
- Chopin - 24 Preludes, Opus 28; Prelude, Opus 45; Scriabin 24 Preludes, Opus 11
- Bach - Goldberg Variations (live from the Berlin Philharmonic)
- Scarlatti - 5 sonatas; Rachmaninoff - 9 Etudes Tableaux, Opus 39
- Beethoven - Diabelli Variations; Scriabin Sonata #5; Schubert Impromptu in G flat, D899/3
- Schumann - Blumenstück, Opus 19; Complete Novelletten, Opus 21
- Beethoven - A Journey: The 32 Piano Sonatas
- Bach - The Six Partitas
- Bach - The Inventions and Sinfonias (Die Aufrichtige Anleitung)
- Bach - Well Tempered Clavier, Book I
- Bach - Well Tempered Clavier, Book II
- Schubert - The Last Three Piano Sonatas, D958-960
- Liszt - Années de Pèlerinage, Books I and II
- Debussy - 24 Préludes
- Debussy - Estampes, Images I and II, 12 Études
- Shostakovich - 24 Preludes and Fugues, Opus 87
- "Craig Sheppard interviewed by Rob Barnett", MusicWeb International website. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
- "The 1972 Competition" Archived 2015-09-01 at the Wayback Machine, Leeds International Piano Competition Official Website. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- Sheppard, Craig. "Biography". Craig Sheppard web site. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "Craig Sheppard". University of Washington School of Music. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
- Upchurch, Michael (April 19, 2015). "Pianist Craig Sheppard to present epic, lyric Shostakovich". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
- Borchert, Gavin (February 10, 2015). "Craig Sheppard's Cold War-Era Piano Marathon". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
- "Seattle Piano Institute". Seattle Piano Institute website. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2015.