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Iris Shepherd

Iris Shepherd is a 13-year-old violinist from Henry, Tennessee. Under the tutelage of Connie Heard at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, she is a recipient of the prestigious Myra Jackson Blair scholarship. As winner of the Samuel Fordis Young Artists Concerto Competition, Iris made her solo orchestral debut with the Georgia Philharmonic in 2018. Later the same year, she soloed with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra as a participant in the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program. Most recently, Iris won the Curb Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, the Tennessee state division of the Music Teacher’s National Association strings competition, and the inaugural Tennessee American Strings Teachers’ Association concerto competition.

Though her first love is classical music, Iris won the James G. “Bobo” Driver National Championship fiddle contest in 2017. She made her Grand Ole Opry stage debut during the summer of 2016, performing a featured solo as part of the Fine Arts Summer Academy. Iris is also an active performer with The Shepherd Family, with whom she has made numerous Tennessee Public Television appearances. Iris has served as concert master of various community and festival orchestras and is a member of Vanderbilt’s Curb Youth Symphony.

When Iris isn’t playing her violin, she enjoys reading, hiking, and playing with Tommy and Gilbert—her two cats.

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