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Musicians' Biographies

Jessica Tong, violin & Michael Sheppard, piano

Our first fall concert this season is scheduled for September 25, 2022. Both Jessica and Michael are retourning to Hudson having performed for us in April 2019

Lauded for her "lyrical intensity" (Baltimore Sun) and her "performances to remember" (Woodstock Times), violinist Jessica Tong has garnered international acclaim as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. A recipient of the Canada Council Grant for Professional Musicians and the David Ouchterloney Award for Most Promising Young Artist, she is also a DAAD Scholar and has also been a top prizewinner at the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, the Toronto Symphony, Canadian Music and Yellow Springs International Chamber Music Competitions.

A devoted chamber musician, Jessica's performances have taken her to Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center, les Invalides in Paris and the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and led to collaborations with artists such as Pamela Frank, Leon Fleisher, Cho-Liang Lin and members of the Cleveland, Vogler, Brentano and Borromeo Quartets. She has served as the first violinist of the Vinca and Larchmere String Quartets, and most recently held the post of Artist-in-Residence at the University of Evansville and concertmaster of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra in Indiana.

Dedicated to finding innovative ways to make the chamber music art form relevant and understood by current society, Jessica is also a passionate advocate for music education and humanizing the concert experience. She has been an Artist-in-Residence for the Perlman Music Program in Florida, the Gorgeous Sounds Program in Oregon and a two time recipient of the ProQuartet Odyssee Residency Grant in France. She has served as a Co-Artistic Director for several chamber music workshops including Chamber Music of the Rockies in Colorado, University of Florida’s ChamberFest, and the Harlaxton Music Festival in England. She is the co-founder of the chamber music residency organization Music Beyond the Chamber, and currently serves as the Chamber Music Director for the Composers Conference at Brandeis University, as well as the Assistant Professor of Violin at the State University of New York Fredonia.

Michael Sheppard is the 2003 recipient of the APA Classical Fellowship Award sponsored by the American Pianists Association. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he has been playing the piano since the age of two. Mr. Sheppard has a Masters degree from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where his teacher was Ann Schein. Mr. Sheppard has performed in master classes for such renowned artists and pedagogues as Eugene Istomin, Seymour Bernstein, Victor Rosenbaum, Garrick Ohlsson, Murray Perahia, Stephen Hough, Ann Schein, Kemal Gekic and Daniel Barenboim.

Known as “a virtuosic soloist possessed of power, sensitivity, earthiness, and humor” (Whitney Smith, Indianapolis Star) with the “power to make an audience sit up and pay attention...thought- provoking for performers and listeners alike” (James Manheim, All Music Guide), Michael Sheppard was the winner of the prestigious American Pianists Association Classical Fellow Award-- a designation that led to the release of a critically acclaimed solo recording by Harmonia Mundi in 2007.

He has performed solo recitals and concertos around the world, including several solo Carnegie Weill Hall recitals and a debut at the Kennedy Center. In fact, he happens to have given solo recitals in the hometowns of both Mahler (Jihlava, Czech Republic) and Elvis (Tupelo, Mississippi), and enjoys taking in the local culture wherever in the world he finds himself. In addition, Michael is a composer of note and has performed many of his own compositions.

He gives masterclasses, teaches regularly and plays with some of the top singers and instrumentalists around the US. Closely associated with the the Peabody Institute of Music and the Baltimore School for the Arts, he shares his love and understanding of music and the artistic process with future generations.

Michael is a native of Philadelphia and resides in Baltimore, where he works at both the Peabody Conservatory and the Baltimore School for the Arts, sharing his love and understanding of music and the artistic process with future generations. For further information about Michael feel free to visit his website.

For further information about Jessica Tong feel free to visit her website.

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