Grammy Award-winning record producer and composer Thomas Z Shepard is best known for his wide range of imaginative albums of Broadway musicals, including landmark original cast recordings of the works Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and Richard Rodgers.
Shepard is also a composer, arranger, orchestrator and pianist.
Thomas Z Shepard has won 12 Grammy Awards. He produced recordings of many Sondheim musicals, including Sweeney Todd, Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures, Side by Side by Sondheim and Merrily We Roll Along. He also produced original cast recordings of 1776, La Cage aux Folles and 42nd Street, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Raisin as well as the 1985 New York Philharmonic concert recording of Follies.
He has produced hundreds of classical recordings and worked with Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Vladimir Horowitz, Leontyne Price, Placido Domingo and others. Among his classical recordings, he produced works of Mahler, Schubert, and Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck.
Thomas Zachary Shepard grew up in East Orange, New Jersey. His mother, Dorothy, was a schoolteacher; his father, Seymour Shepard, was an attorney. At age 11, while still attending local public school, he began studying piano and composition at The Juilliard Pre-College Division in New York. He studied piano there with Vera Brodsky Lawrence. After she left Juilliard, he studied with Robert Riotte in Montclair, New Jersey.
In 1960, Shepard was hired as an A&R trainee for Columbia Records (now Sony) and later became the co-director of CBS Masterworks. He joined RCA Records in 1974, where he was Division Vice President of RCA Red Seal, in charge of artist acquisition, marketing and hands-on production. He was also the recording producer of all Broadway cast albums as well as many projects with the conductor James Levine whom, among others, he brought to the label.
In 1986, he was appointed Vice President of MCA’s newly-created division for Broadway and Classical music.
Since 1989, Shepard has worked as an independent recording and concert producer, composer, arranger, expert legal witness, educator and pianist. He also wrote, narrated and produced The WQXR/MCA Classics Listener’s Guide (1988). He is a sought-after speaker on musical theatre and classical music.
1986 Follies in Concert: Best Original Cast Recording
1986 Drama Desk Special Award “for preserving musical theater heritage on record”
1984 NARAS Governors’ Award for Lifetime Achievement
1984 Sunday in the Park with George: Best Original Cast Recording
1982 Mahler Symphony No. 7: Best Orchestra Recording
1979 Sweeney Todd: Best Original Cast Recording
1978 Ain’t Misbehavin’: Best Original Cast Recording
1977 Porgy and Bess: Best Opera Recording
1974 Raisin: Best Original Cast Recording
1973 Bartok Concerto for Orchestra: Album of the Year
1970 Sesame Street: Best Children’s Recording / RIAA Gold Record Company: Best Original Cast Recording.