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Thomas Z. Shepard

Thomas Z. Shepard

Thomas Z. Shepard is a recording producer who is perhaps best known for his recordings of Broadway musicals, especially the works of Stephen Sondheim. He is also an accomplished pianist, composer, arranger and conductor, equally acclaimed as a producer of classical recordings.

Shepard is the winner of twelve Grammy Awards for his classical and Broadway recordings. He produced the landmark original cast recordings of the Sondheim musicals Company, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday in the Park with George, as well as the 1985 New York Philharmonic concert recording of Follies. He also produced the original cast recordings of La Cage aux Folles, 42nd Street, Irene and the 1971 revival of No, No, Nanette, among many others.

Shepard began his training in The Juilliard School’s preparatory division, studying piano and composition, and graduating in 1949. He received his B.A. in Music in 1958 from Oberlin College, where he continued his study of piano and, privately, composition. He then studied at the Yale Graduate School of Music in 1959.

In 1960, Shepard began a fourteen-year association with Columbia Records, becoming producer and eventually co-director of CBS Masterworks. In 1974, he joined RCA Records, where he was named Division Vice President of RCA Red Seal, responsible for recording, signing and marketing of the label until 1986. From 1986 to 1989, he was Vice President, Classical and Theatrical, for MCA Records in New York, for which he created a classical and theatrical record line. Since 1989, Shepard has been an independent producer. He has also lectured on musical theater and classical music, and he wrote, narrated and produced The WQXR/MCA Classics Listener’s Guide (1988).

In addition to his twelve competitive Grammy Awards, Shepard was presented the NARAS Governors’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1984. He won a Drama Desk Special Award in 1986 “for preserving musical theater heritage on record.” In 1984, Shepard received two Emmy Award nominations for songs he composed in the PBS television show Between the Lions (2007). He is also a producer of live concert events, most recently My Fair Lady in 2007, and Camelot in 2008, with the New York Philharmonic, broadcast on PBS as part of the Live from Lincoln Center series.

Shepard is the composer of two musicals and five operas. The musicals are The Snow Queen (1963) and Blaming it on You (1970), both with a book by Charles Burr. The operas are The Last of the Just, with a libretto by Gerald Walker, based on the novel by Andre Schwarz-Bart (1980); That Pig of a Molette (1988) and Love in Two Countries, both with Sheldon Harnick, with whom he also collaborated on A Question of Faith (1991). His score for the lost music of Thespis premiered in June 2008.

In 1971, Shepard composed a score for the film Such Good Friends, directed by Otto Preminger, and in 1974, he wrote a children’s cantata, In the Night Kitchen, with Maurice Sendak. He also composed the piano folio Folk a la Classique for Carl Fischer (2003), featuring original compositions for children. For the Carnegie Hall Explorers Division, he wrote music and lyrics for The Children’s Symphony (2004), intended to teach the instruments of the orchestra to second- and third-grade schoolchildren, as well as music and lyrics for the PBS television show Between the Lions (2007).


• Show Boat (1962)
• The King and I (1964)
• Bajour (1964)
• George M! (1968)
• Zorba (1968)
• 1776 (1969)
• Dames at Sea (1969)
• Dear World (1969)
• Company (1970) – Grammy, Best Musical Show Album
• The Rothschilds (1970)
• Two By Two (1970)
• 70 Girls 70 (1971)
• No, No, Nanette (1971)
• Irene (1973)
• Raisin (1973) – Grammy, Best Cast Show Album
• Candide (1974)
• Goodtime Charley (1975)
• A Little Night Music (1975 / London)
• Pacific Overtures (1976)
• Porgy and Bess (1977) – Grammy, Best Opera Recording
• The King and I (1977)
• Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1978) – Grammy, Best Cast Show Album
• Sweeney Todd (1979) – Grammy, Best Cast Show Album
• 42nd Street (1980)
• Merrily We Roll Along (1981)
• A Stephen Sondheim Evening (1983)
• La Cage Aux Folles (1983)
• Sunday in the Park with George (1984) – Grammy, Best Cast Show Album
• Follies in Concert, (1986) – Grammy, Best Musical Cast Show Album
• Song and Dance (1986)
• The Secret Garden (1991)
• Man of La Mancha (1996)
• Wings (1996)
• Chicago (1998 / London)