Artistic Director

About Christopher Shepard

Visionary and Scholar

Artistic Director of the Worcester Chorus since 2009, Chris also serves as Artistic Director of the Connecticut Choral Artists (CONCORA) in Hartford and the Masterwork Chorus of New Jersey.  His choirs have collaborated with a number of orchestras, such as the Juilliard Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, in venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall in New York, as well as the Royal Festival Hall in London and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.  Chris has prepared choirs for major international conductors, including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Simone Young, Carlos Miguel Prieto and William Boughton, as well as for Broadway legend Patti Lupone and Ray Davies of the Kinks.  He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2015, and made his conducting debut with the New Haven Symphony in 2016.

Chris returned to America in 2008 after a dozen years in Sydney, Australia, where he founded the Sydneian Bach Choir and Orchestra.  He led their BACH 2010, a project to perform all of Bach’s choral cantatas.  Under his direction, the ensemble performed over eighty cantatas, as well as the two Passions, B Minor Mass, and Christmas Oratorio; they completed the cantata cycle in 2013.  In addition to the music of J.S. Bach, Chris has conducted many staples of the choral-orchestral repertoire, and he has commissioned and premiered a number of new choral works in both Australia and America.  He also leads two of the longest-running annual Messiah performances in America, with the Worcester Chorus at Mechanics Hall, and at Carnegie Hall with the Masterwork Chorus.

A committed music educator, Chris has served on the faculty of the Taft School, Sydney Grammar School, Hotchkiss Summer Portals, and Holy Cross College.  He founded the Litchfield County Children’s Choir in 1990, and has conducted numerous middle and high school festival choirs in New England, New York and Australia.  He presented two documentaries with SBS-TV, an Australian national public television network, and has given several presentations at conferences for American Choral Directors Association and Australian National Kodàly Association.  Chris has been a guest conductor at Emmanuel Church in Boston, a church renowned for its four-decade Bach cantata project, and he currently serves as Music Director of St John’s Episcopal Church in Stamford, Connecticut.  He led the Dessoff Choir in New York City from 2010 to 2016.

A pianist and keyboard continuist, Chris holds degrees from the Hartt School, the Yale School of Music (where he studied choral conducting with Marguerite Brooks) and the University of Sydney.  He researched the performance history of Bach’s B Minor Mass in New York City for his PhD in Musicology; his dissertation won the American Choral Directors Association’s 2012 Julius Herford Prize for outstanding doctoral thesis in choral music.

 Last updated 2-22-2017