Dr Richard Shephard MBE, DL, FRSCM

The trustees and staff of the Ryedale Festival are saddened by the news of the death of its former Chairman and Trustee Dr Richard Shephard on Saturday 20th February 2021.They extend their deepest condolences to Richard’s family, notably his twin brother Jonathan, and many friends.

Dr Shephard joined the Festival Board in 2013 and served as Chairman from October 2017 to September 2020 when he resigned owing to deteriorating health. 

During his time as Chairman the Festival went from strength to strength, winning national and international recognition for the depth and ambition of its programming. The Festival was a grateful beneficiary of Richard’s unrivalled network both in terms of the major funding he attracted and the artistic links he unstintingly forged. Perhaps the most notable Festival partnership he fostered was with the Hallé Orchestra through his lifelong friendship with its Musical Director, Sir Mark Elder.

In November 2020 , the Festival Board appointed Richard as a Vice President of the Festival in recognition of his major contribution. 

The President of the Ryedale Festival, John Warrack, said: ‘Richard had the quality of all the best leaders, he made all of us who worked with him, whatever we did, want to meet his high standards because he trusted us to do so.’

Christopher Glynn, the Festival’s Artistic Director, said: ‘Richard was a dedicated and inspiring Chairman, with a gift for friendship as well as music. His warmth, wit and kindness will long be remembered.’ 

Richard’s successor as chairman, Geoff Potter, who served as his deputy, added: ‘Trustees, staff, volunteers, supporters and  artists will remember Richard for the strength of his commitment to the Festival’s success. He was a formidable leader with an exceptional relationship with the Festival staff, who will miss him greatly.’

To honour Dr Shephard’s contribution to the Festival, a special film of his music was made in December, for the Festival’s online platform, RyeStream. This is now available to view on the RyeStream page.