Faculty & Staff

Hope Shepherd

Faculty: Cello


B.M. Arizona State University
M.M. Rice University


Cellist, Hope Shepherd, is a versatile musician and is currently the cellist of the KAIA String Quartet, an all-female ensemble devoted to promoting the works of Latin American composers. With KAIA she has toured the United States and Latin America, was in residence at the classical radio station WFMT, and regularly performs around Chicago. The quartet is dedicated to education and regularly gives in-school presentations through Ravinia and IMF Chicago and even created a series of KAIA Kids videos to introduce children to the music of Latin America. Hope frequently subs with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and, as former principal cellist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Institute, she has played under many renowned conductors including James Levine, Riccardo Muti, and Herbert Blomstadt.


How can I possibly choose a favorite? Some music that has touched me recently includes the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, Beethoven op. 131, the Punch Brothers, Lakestreet Dive and any live performance.

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“I believe music education is important because it can be used to teach so many things growth, accomplishment, discipline, etc. I also love that you can find music to match any emotion or experience you go through. Merit has created a great space for opportunity and community for students of all backgrounds.”