Sponsored by James Rieckhoff
Canadian violinist Jessica Tong has garnered international acclaim as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, having been described as an "outstanding talent" (Performing Arts in Canada) with "keen sensitivity and receptivity" (Bloomington Herald Times), who "allow[s] us to savour her sense of ardour and intensity, but never at the detriment of her tonal beauty" (ClassiqueInfo France). A recipient of a Canada Council Grant for Musicians and a DAAD scholar, she has been a top prizewinner at the Eckhardt-Gramatte, Toronto Symphony, Canadian Music, and Yellow Springs International Chamber Music Competitions, as well as the recipient of the David Ouchterlony Award for Outstanding Artist.
Michael Sheppard 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. He has worked closely with fellow composers John Corigliano, Christopher Theofanidis, Michael Hersch, Robert Sirota and with the late Nicholas Maw, demonstrating a deep love of new music; his eclectic tastes also led him recently to musical-direct performances of Jason Robert Brown's Broadway show “The Last Five Years”.