Shepherd School of Music

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Shepherd School of Music
Type Private
Established 1974
Dean Robert Yekovich
Academic staff
Undergraduates 100
Postgraduates 250
Location Houston, Texas, U.S.

The Shepherd School of Music is a university school of music located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. From its inception in 1974[1] under dean Samuel Jones, the Shepherd School has emphasized orchestral, chamber music, and opera as the central elements of its performing curriculum.


The Shepherd School has existed in name since 1950, with an $8 million endowment by Sallie Shepherd Perkins in honor of her grandfather Benjamin A. Shepherd.[2] It was opened in 1974 under the deanship of conductor and composer Samuel Jones.[3] The school's building, Alice Pratt Brown Hall, was dedicated on October 4, 1991.[2] Prior to its existence, concerts were given in Hamman Hall, Cohen House, Fondren Library’s Kyle Morrow Room, Rice Memorial Chapel, Milford House, and various churches in Houston.[3]


Shepherd students participate in a program that allows for individual study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Courses are taught exclusively by faculty, with classes averaging fewer than thirty students. A small number of courses are offered to Rice University students as a whole (without special admission requirements), including Fundamentals of Music, Music Theory for Non-Music Majors I and II, and Music Literature for Non-Music Majors I and II.

The voice and opera program includes about thirty students and presents two operas each year.

Shepherd accepts about 10-15% of graduate applicants[4] and 15% of all undergraduate applicants.[5]


Each year more than 400 free concerts and recitals are given by students, faculty, and visiting artists and attract about 70,000 concert-goers annually.[6] Numerous world-renowned classical musicians have come to the Shepherd School to give concerts and conduct master classes, including Yo-Yo Ma,[7] André Watts,[8] Itzhak Perlman,[9] Cecilia Bartoli,[10] and Renée Fleming.[11]


The school's home, Alice Pratt Brown Hall houses the 1,000-seat Stude Concert Hall, the 250-seat Duncan Recital Hall, the Edythe Bates Old Grand Organ and Recital Hall, an opera studio, 65 practice rooms, seven classrooms, rehearsal and small ensemble spaces and 54 teaching studios.[12] Situated on the western side of the Rice campus, it is made up of two long parallel wings joined by gardens and connecting corridors of loggias.[12] The building was designed by the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill and completed in 1991.[2]

Preparatory program[edit]

The preparatory division of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University offers non-credit private instruction in piano, harp, voice, percussion, brass, string, and woodwind instruments for children and adults. Pre-school classes for very young children begin as early as age two. Chamber music groups, group theory instruction, and classes for the young child are also available. Theory class sizes are limited to 12 students, and admission to all levels above primary 2, are by entrance exam only. Entrance exams are given at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.


  1. ^ Ericson, R., "Unafraid, a New Music School Opens; NOT JUST MOSTLY MOZART", The New York Times, March 10, 1974, p.121
  2. ^ a b c "Guide to the Shepherd School of Music Records, 1950-2001", Texas Archival Resources Online
  3. ^ a b Du Mont Brower, Mary, "Early Shepherd School Recordings Dazzle in Digital Form ", News From Fondren, Fall, 2010
  4. ^ "Graduate Frequently Asked Questions", Shepherd School official Web site
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions", Shepherd School official Web site
  6. ^ "About the Shepherd School of Music", Shepherd School official Web site
  7. ^ Kaplan, David, "Yo-Yo Ma To Conduct Master Class at Rice's Shepherd School", Rice News, February 10, 2009
  8. ^ Kaplan, David, "Pianist André Watts to Highlight Shepherd Gala", Rice News, March 18, 1999
  9. ^ Wieber, Ted, "Violinist Perlman helps Shepherd School raise $2.2 million at gala", The Rice Thresher, February 10, 2006
  10. ^ Unrau, Lia, "Bartoli dazzles crowd at million dollar evening", Rice News, November 17, 1995
  11. ^ Evans, Everett, "Renée Fleming to headline at Rice gala", Houston Chronicle, Feb. 16, 2009
  12. ^ a b "Welcome to the Shepherd School of Music", Shepherd School official Web site

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°42′59″N 95°24′18″W / 29.7164°N 95.4049°W / 29.7164; -95.4049