Iris Shepherd, violin
Iris Shepherd (violin), 16, lives in Henry, Tennessee and is a recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. A student of Cornelia Heard at Vanderbilt University, she is a recipient of the Myra Jackson Blair Scholarship. Iris made her solo orchestral debut with the Georgia Philharmonic at age 12 and has since soloed with the Fairbanks Alaska Symphony Orchestra and the Curb Youth Symphony.
Iris is the 2021 Music Teachers National Association national winner in the senior strings category for 15-18 year old musicians. A three-time MTNA national finalist, she has won the Tennessee Division and Southern Division three consecutive years. Earlier in 2021, she won first prize in the Heart Out Piano and Strings Competition sponsored by the Miami Symphony. Previously, Iris won the Curb Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, the Tennessee American Strings Teachers’ Association (TNASTA) Competition, the Delta Symphony Concerto Competition and is a two-time prize winner in the Hilton Head Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition. In 2020, Iris performed four solo recitals in the Hilton Head Young Artist Performances Program.
Iris has performed in masterclasses with Stefan Jackiw, Paul Kantor, Brian Lewis, Rachel Barton Pine, Catharine Carroll Lees, and Ani Kavafian. Twice she attended the Brian Lewis Young Artist Summer Program, and for the 2020 summer, she was awarded a full fellowship for the Aspen International Musical Festival. Iris has served as concert master of various community and festival orchestras and is currently a member of Vanderbilt University’s Curb Youth Symphony.
Though her first love is classical music, she won the James G. “Bobo” Driver National Championship fiddle contest in 2017. Iris made her Grand Ole Opry stage debut during the summer of 2016, performing a featured solo as part of the Fine Arts Summer Academy. When Iris isn’t playing her violin, she enjoys shopping for unique finds at vintage stores, playing with her dog Aspen, and rock climbing.
Listen to Iris
La Gitana by Fritz Kreisler