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Emily Sheppard : Associate Artist

Sheppard’s music has freedom and vitality, sparked in the liminal spaces between classical and folk, groove and notation, the cerebral and intuition. Greatly inspired by the enduring mysteries of nature, she aims to bring a little more wonder to the world.

Photo of Emily Sheppard

Photo: Bruce Moyle


Emily Sheppard is a composer, performer and marine scientist based in nipaluna, Tasmania. Her music is inspired by the liminal spaces between musical genres, and science and art, created in submerged and subterranean environments. Merging classical and folk modalities, she creates genre-bending work that appeals to a wide-ranging audience. Her compositions require performers to courageously explore new aspects of their playing, often including aspects of improvisation, scordatura, and singing and playing simultaneously. Aftermath for singing violist has been played by musicians in Australia, Europe and the U.S., and was part of the winning program for 2022 Freedman Fellow Katie Yap. Sheppard's most recent work is Age-old (2023), a cross-genre suite that confronts ageism and invisibility in the arts industry, released through ABC Classic.

She also works collaboratively, often composing with Yyan Ng, with whom she co-founded the arts collective Where Water Meets. They have developed a unique harmonic language, chasing a sound that alludes to the experience of the wilderness. Their compositions have been performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Obscura I: Beyond, 2023), and The Bowerbird Collective (Moonbird Festival, 2023).

Sheppard is passionate about curating alternative listening experiences for her audiences, searching for places and contexts that facilitate deep listening, immersion and awe. She has curated performances in several caves around Tasmania, where audiences listen to music written in the cave while looking up at a ceiling of stalactites. She created a sunrise performance on a mountain summit in nipaluna/Hobart, accompanied by a Japanese Tea Ceremony. She released her debut solo album MoonMilk (a set of compositions for solo violin & viola), as a series of full moon rise performances around Tasmania, where audiences drew their experience on paper moons while listening.

Sheppard holds a Bachelor's degree in Geography and an Honours degree in Marine Science. Over the past decade, she has communicated science through music, creating shows about CRISPR gene engineering, endangered kelp forests and the geological deep time history of Tasmania. Most recently, Where Water Meets have created musical storytelling performances about the incredible migration story of freshwater eels, inventing the world's first instruments made from eel-skin and performing Searching for the Eel Song at TEDx Hobart 2023.

For a full list of compositions, go to her website.

Emily Sheppard — current to September 2023

Studied with

Anthony Lyons (2009 - 2011)


Collaborated with

Yyan Ng (2016 - current)