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  • Patrick Shepherd

  • Born: 1963
  • Fully Represented SOUNZ Composer

Being a creative person – and a composer in particular – is one of the most rewarding things I can think of. It helps me make sense of the world.


Patrick Shepherd has called New Zealand home since moving here from England in 1991. He is an accomplished composer, conductor, performer and teacher, and he is well-known for his work in the community and with young people. He is passionate about new music, music education, technology and creativity. His works have been performed in the UK, USA, Germany, Russia, South Korea, China and Australia as well as regular performances and broadcasts in New Zealand. At university he studied composition under Edward Gregson, Stanley Glasser, Robin Walker and Geoffrey Poole. A graduate of Manchester, London and Canterbury universities, Patrick also holds licentiate (LTCL) and fellowship (FTCL) diplomas in composition from Trinity College, London.

Patrick’s works have been performed by many ensembles worldwide, including the Berlin Chamber Orchestra (Germany), Kuzbass Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Duo Stump Linshalm (Germany), Choir of Christ’s College, Oxford (UK) and Aoraki Duo (Australia), as well as in New Zealand by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand String Quartet, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Canterbury Philharmonia, Da Capo Chamber Orchestra, Jubilate Singers, 175 East, Silencio Ensemble and Camerata Strings. Patrick has also written solo works for Andrew Uren, Carol Hohauser, Matthew Marshall, Brigitte Martin, Mark Walton, Anatoly Zelinsky, Peter Dykes, Bede Hanley and Richard Belcher. Patrick has written two musicals, many works for children (including a children’s ballet) and the soundtrack to two New Zealand short films (Lemi’s Comic Strip Capers and Kitty). Patrick wrote the soundtrack for Gavin Bishop’s “magic book” Giant Jimmy Jones, the world’s first interactive 3D virtual picture book created by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HITLab) at the University of Canterbury.

Patrick’s tone poem Cryosphere was a finalist in the Lilburn Prize in 2006 and in 2007 Patrick was awarded the CANZ Trust Fund Award by the Composers Association of New Zealand for “outstanding potential and achievement in New Zealand Composition”. His works have received continual critical acclaim, with such comments as, “He brings a perspective to music quite different to other local writers… He is a master at delicate and transparent textures,” (Ian Dando, Christchurch Star), “[the] Requiem… is a moving work, uncompromising in idiom… this made for a rich framework. Overall it was a remarkably structured work,” (David Sell, The Press) and “[the Piano Sonatine was] immediately arresting. [It] contained moments of considerable charm,” (Timothy Jones, The Press).

Being a multi-instrumentalist (he holds distinctions at grade 8 level on clarinet, violin and oboe and also plays sax, flute, recorder, percussion, guitar and piano) Patrick studied clarinet under George MacDonald (Northern Sinfonia) and Neville Duckworth, Cyril “Paddy” O’Neill, with whom he also studied oboe, and violin under Margaret Eglington and Florence Wilson. This in-depth knowledge of many of the instruments of the orchestra naturally led him to conducting. Patrick has conducted many orchestras and choirs, including the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Youth Orchestra, Garden City Symphony Orchestra and NASDA chorus and he is currently conductor of the Camerata Strings and the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival Symphony Orchestra.

Patrick is a staunch advocate of New Zealand music and during the 1990s organised several concerts of new music, culminating in the release of the Contemporary Canterbury CD, featuring works by eight New Zealand composers. He has also represented the South Island on the national committee of the Composers’ Association of New Zealand (CANZ) as well as the national Composer Advisory Panel. He has delivered promotional talks and lectures on New Zealand music both overseas and nationally and is a music critic for The Press.

Patrick is an Honorary Antarctic Arts Fellow, having travelled to Antarctica early in 2004, and much of his current creative work is related to that trip, including painting and poetry as well as music. Somewhat paradoxically, his experience in Antarctica led him to research the medical condition synaesthesia (altered sensory perception), conducting research projects at local and national levels within New Zealand and presenting papers at conferences across Australasia and Europe.

Recent works include Moment Magnitude (2015) for String Quartet, Lithosphere – second movement (2015) and an opera titled Poles Apart (2016).

Patrick is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury and lives on an olive grove in North Canterbury with his wife, Jeanette.

Source: Patrick Shepherd. Updated by SOUNZ, March 2017.


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