Two-time national finalist for The American Prize in Conducting (community orchestra division), American conductor Joshua Shepherd brings over two decades of experience in both the classical and commercial music industry as violinist, violist, singer, and conductor to his work as Music Director and Conductor of The People's Orchestra of Nashville (formerly the Nashville Reading Orchestra).
Most recently, Joshua stepped in with just a few hours’ notice to conduct Orchestra Kentucky’s Christmas Spectacular concert due to the ensemble’s music director being ill. Besides the orchestra, the concert featured two vocal soloists, adult choir, and children’s choir. Joshua’s ability to adapt quickly and to work well under pressure enabled the singers and orchestra to have a fantastic performance.
Duuring the 2023-2024 and 2022-2023 seasons, served as cover conductor for the Tennessee Philharmonic Orchestra, Butler Philharmonic Orchestra and Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. In 2023, Joshua was selected to attend the International Conductors Guild - Ft Wayne Philharmonic International Conductors Workshop, where he led the orchestra in the performance of Wagner's Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In 2021, Shepherd served as Guest Conductor for Tennessee Philharmonic Orchestra's Veterans Concert, the ensemble's first post-COVID lockdown performance.
Shepherd converted crisis into opportunity in the Summer of 2020 by founding the Nashville Reading Orchestra. The orchestra is comprised of college students, professional musicians, faculty, and community members. The NRO originally began as a 'reading orchestra' to give local musicians the rare opportunity to collaborate and read through diverse repertoire with others in a fun and safe environment during the pandemic.
The ensemble, named a national finalist in 2022 and 2023 for the The American Prize in Orchestral Performance, has since evolved into a performing orchestra, with the new name of The People's Orchestra of Nashville. The orchestra has presented several public concerts of standard symphonic, operatic, ballet and pops repertoire, including lesser known works, to both in-person and online audiences. As PON Music Director and Conductor, Joshua has collaborated with local instrumentalists and vocalists, featuring them as soloists with the orchestra and has secured local news coverage for the performances. The PON is one of the only Middle TN orchestras to have performed throughout most of the pandemic from August 2020 to the present.
Joshua has participated in the Conductor's Institute of South Carolina, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and Opera Bootcamp at University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Dr. Donald Portnoy, Peter Jaffe, Cristian Măcelaru, Octavio Más-Arocas, and Mark Gibson.
As violinist and violist, Shepherd has performed with such artists as Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, and Bernadette Peters, performed in the Broadway pit orchestras for Monty Python's Spamalot and The Phantom of the Opera, and played on recordings for various Playstation soundtracks and artist projects. Joshua has also performed extensively with professional orchestras in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and California, as well as toured Europe and Asia. In addition to performing, Joshua's experience as educator ranges from private lessons, to ensemble and classroom teaching including both instrumental and vocal students. Joshua's experience as adjunct faculty includes teaching at Union University and Belmont University.
Joshua is a passionate advocate of music composed for Broadway, film, television, and video games, and is enthusiastic to share this repertoire with musicians and audiences alike. Shepherd holds a D.M.A. degree in Viola Performance from University of Miami, and an M.M. degree in Instrumental Conducting and Viola Performance from University of South Florida. Joshua is represented by Eva Artistic Management.