A native of Pennsylvania, Matthew Sheppard now resides in Illinois, where he works as a conductor and teacher in the Champaign-Urbana and greater Chicago area. His current appointments include Director of the University Chamber Orchestra at the University of Chicago, Assistant Conductor of the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and Choir Director of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing a doctorate in orchestral conducting at the University of Illinois under Donald Schleicher, Sheppard maintains an active performing and teaching career both at the university and in the surrounding community, working with university ensembles as well as Parkland College and the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company.
From 2011-13, Sheppard studied conducting at Penn State University with Gerardo Edelstein. During that time, he held appointments as Orchestra Director at Juniata College, Music Director of the State College Summer Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra (CPYO), and Music Director of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County. While at Penn State, he was recognized as an inspirational teacher and was instrumental in CPYO's resurgence as a strong, vibrant regional youth orchestra. In 2010, he founded the State College Summer Orchestra, a community orchestra that has since offered three years of benefit concerts. In 2013, they presented four world premieres, including a commission written for the orchestra and cello soloist Kim Cook. Sheppard holds bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts, Music Education, and Music Performance from Penn State, as well as a master's degree in orchestral conducting. As a violin student of Max Zorin, he won the Jury Recognition Award three times for outstanding performance on end-of-semester playing exams and received the William M. Forrest Chamber Music Scholarship for four consecutive years. In 2008, Sheppard was invited to join the Zeta Iota Chapter of the Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society and the Lambda Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He was also the 2010 recipient of the Penn State Creative Achievement Award.
Sheppard attended conducting festivals in the Czech Republic, Chicago, Austin, and Vermont, studying under Donald Schleicher, Kirk Trevor, Kenneth Kiesler, and Peter Bay while working with orchestras including the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and the Round Rock Symphony.