Music Director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra
A search for the ESO’s next music director is underway. Seven world-renowned candidates will conduct guest performances with the Symphony during the fall and winter 2021-22 season, with the goal of a new music director being named for the start of the 2022-23 season.
Stephen Squires, Resident Conductor
Stephen Squires is a musician with a career that blends his passions for conducting, teaching, and performing. Mr. Squires has had the honor to conduct for many exceptional artists, including Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, Janos Starker, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, John Browning, Leon Bates, Stewart Goodyear, Richard Stoltzman, Ani Kavafian, Wendy Warner, James Tocco, Kevin Cole, Vadim Gluzman, Alexander Fiterstein, and most of the principal players of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera Orchestras. Fully committed to conducting the music of living composers, he has premiered over one hundred new works.
Mr. Squires received his musical training at the Preparatory School of the Eastman School of Music and the Crane School of Music, in his home state of New York. He earned his graduate degree in Instrumental Conducting and Trumpet Performance at California State University, Northridge. Further conducting studies were with Helmuth Rilling, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Tsung Yeh, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Squires has conducted recordings for the Delos, Spring Hill (a division of EMI), MEDR, Editions de la Rue Margot, Albany, MSR Classics, and Centaur labels. Stephen Squires has enjoyed a forty-year career as a Professor of Music. He is currently Professor of Conducting in the Music Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. Prior to this appointment he served on the artist faculty of the Northern Illinois School of Music, where he received the prestigious “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.”
Mr. Squires’ current professional appointments include Resident Conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony (Aurora, IL), Music Director of the Millar Brass (Evanston, IL), and Music Director of the Illinois Brass Band (Arlington Heights, IL). He is the former Music Director of the Illinois Chamber Symphony. Mr. Squires has guest conducted the Chicago Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony, the Columbus (OH) Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, and the Chicago Composers Orchestra. In addition, he is an accomplished recital accompanist, freelance trumpeter, and frequent guest conductor at educational festivals throughout the country.
Matthew Sheppard, Education Conductor
Matthew Sheppard leads a career as both performer and teacher. Outside of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, he serves as music director of the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago, and the Hyde Park Youth Symphony.
Sheppard has guest conducted orchestras in North and South America, including the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Paraguay, the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and the Lake Geneva Symphony. As an educator, conductor, and clinician, he is highly regarded for his passionate musicianship and technical ability, and he regularly leads masterclasses on playing and conducting in Chicago and abroad.
Sheppard studied under Donald Schleicher as a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Illinois. Before moving to Illinois, he attended Penn State University and earned bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts, Music Education, and Music Performance as well as a master’s degree in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of Max Zorin (violin) and Gerardo Edelstein (conducting).