Matthew Christopher Shepard is a professional conductor, church musician, and guest lecturer based in Kansas City. His unique career path has led him to concert halls conducting both professional orchestras and choirs, to collegiate and secondary school classrooms to guest conduct and lecture in musicology and performance practice, and to communities of faith to lead both Christian and Jewish worship services. His intellectual curiosity, fearless programming, and magnetic leadership has made him leading conductor in the region.
Mr. Shepard is founder and conductor of Te Deum, and its early music ensemble, Te Deum Antiqua. Now in it’s 15th season, Te Deum has established itself has one of the premier choral ensembles in the Midwest region. Mr. Shepard is frequently engaged as a conducting clinician, most recently with the University of Kansas and Mid America Nazarene University, and in directed the Kansas State Honor Choir at the 2021 American Choral Directors Association State Convention. With his growing reputation in the Early Music field, Mr. Shepard’s work and contributions to the field were featured in Early Music America, both in a highlight article in their electronic publication, and in a featured article in their monthly magazine. He has also guest lectured in music history and performance practice at William Jewell College and Baker University and has presented workshops on Gregorian Chant performance. With Te Deum he has given period performances of great pillars of baroque music including Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, and Bach’s B-Minor Mass.
As an orchestral conductor, Mr. Shepard has been conducted several ensembles in the Midwest, including The Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, and the Kansas City Baroque. He also served as orchestra director for six years at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. In the summer of 2018 he conducted the closing orchestral concert of the American Guild of Organists National Convention in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performance Arts, a performance rebroadcast in 2021 on the nationally syndicated radio program Pipe Dreams.
Mr. Shepard also serves as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois, where in 2021-2022 he assistant conducted the UI Chamber Choir, including conducting them on a tour to Sweden and Estonia, and the Oratorio Society, leading rehearsals on the Poulenc Gloria and the Brahms Requiem. For the 2022-2023 season he will be the assistant chorus director of the Carmel Bach Festival. Beginning his musical studies in woodwinds and voice, Mr. Shepard holds an undergraduate degree from William Jewell College and two master’s degrees, studying both choral and orchestral conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He has also studied as an orchestral conducting fellow at the Conductors Institute at Bard College Conservatory and at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Institute.