The Shepherd School of Music

COVID-19: Shepherd School Class and Performance Update from Dean Yekovich

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Dear Friends,

As our country and world confront the profound social and personal disruptions inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I remain optimistic that our collective best efforts will enable us to rise up and overcome this unprecedented challenge.

At The Shepherd School of Music and Rice University, we have adopted measures to both protect our students, faculty and staff, and also help them navigate in this new and unfamiliar environment.

Classes and individual instruction have been moved to online delivery as nearly all students have left campus. Certain technological limitations inherent with online audio and video have posed a particular challenge for the Shepherd School’s performance-based instruction but our incredibly resilient and creative faculty are developing strategies for minimizing these shortcomings. We additionally remain committed to ensuring that all students scheduled to graduate are not obstructed by these extremely untimely setbacks.

In the coming days, the Shepherd School will be sharing special audio and video content with our community via our website and social media. We encourage you to remain in touch and visit us often on Facebook and Instagram. Updates regarding on-campus activities are also available on Rice’s website.

We remain extremely grateful to you, our community of friends and advocates, for your steadfast and unqualified support. Opportunities for celebrating the artistry of our remarkable students and faculty, together and in person, will hopefully resume next fall. We eagerly anticipate that return to normalcy and welcoming you to the Brockman Music and Performing Arts Center, comprised of our beloved Alice Pratt Brown Hall and the stunning new Brockman Hall for Opera, both of which will be home to The Shepherd School of Music.

With immense gratitude and wishes for continued good health,

Robert Yekovich, Dean

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

In legal compliance with the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order from Harris County, students are not permitted to access Alice Pratt Brown Hall until April 3 (please be mindful that this date is subject to change).

Practicing in the building is discontinued but Alice Pratt Brown Hall will remain open until this Friday, March 27 at 3 p.m. for retrieving personal items. Please make arrangements to recover whatever possessions are necessary prior to closure March 27.

Updates will be forthcoming but in the meantime, please make sure to take all precautionary measures for protecting your personal well-being and the well-being of others.

With utmost compassion for our entire community,

Robert Yekovich, Dean

Thursday, March 19, 2020
To ensure the well-being of the Houston community in light of COVID-19, Rice University is following precautionary recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and prohibiting on-campus gatherings through April 30. Therefore, we regret to inform you that all performances at the Shepherd School of Music are cancelled.

Monday, March 16, 2020
The World Health Organization has now officially designated the spread of the coronavirus COVID - 19 as a pandemic. Decisions as to how we best address this situation are challenging given the rapidly changing nature and reach of the coronavirus spread. Rice and the Shepherd School are focused first and foremost on the health and well being of the entire community as well as our commitment to providing a high quality education.

Our entire student population is being impacted in very profound and different ways. Please access the following link ( and read the letters from Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates and Seiichi Matsuda, Interim Provost and Dean of Graduate and Post Doctoral Studies for more specific details.

How this directly impacts the faculty, staff and students in the Shepherd School is as follows:

  • All Shepherd School classes for both graduate and undergraduate students will be delivered online, beginning Monday, March 23. For undergraduates, this includes individual lessons. For graduate students, you can elect to have your individual lessons online or in person (Alice Pratt Brown Hall will remain open).
  • Course and individual lesson guidelines pertaining to regular, in-person instruction will also apply to the online formatted courses. Please email your studio teachers and/or course instructors for more details. It is important to keep in mind that the process of converting a large portion of our instruction to an online format will take a number of days. Your patience will be greatly appreciated.
  • The Shepherd School Symphony, Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, Rice Chorale and a variety of other ensemble rehearsals and performances have been cancelled for the semester. The School’s online performance calendar will be updated daily.
  • Chamber music rehearsals and performances may proceed with participation being voluntary. The total number of people performing and in attendance must not exceed twenty five. We ask that “safe distancing” be practiced as much as possible. Only faculty, students, staff (and possibly family) should be present at performances as Rice has directed that we not encourage audience members from outside the University to come on campus.
  • Studio faculty will determine how best for students to fulfill their degree recital requirements. More information can be obtained by contacting your studio teacher.

We will continue to provide information as the situation evolves. Make sure to observe all precautionary health and hygiene measures.


Robert Yekovich, Dean