Alexander Shelley

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Alexander Shelley
Alexander Shelley.jpg
Background information
Birth name Alexander Gordon Shelley
Born (1979-10-08) October 8, 1979 (age 36)
London, England
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Conductor
Instruments Cello, Piano
Years active 2005-present

Alexander Gordon Shelley (born October 8, 1979, London, England) is an English conductor. He is currently chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) in Ottawa, as well as principal associate conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).

The son of the pianists Howard Shelley OBE and Hilary Macnamara, Shelley learned piano from his mother and cello from his grandmother.[1] In 1992, he won a music scholarship to Westminster School from The Hall School Hampstead. He studied cello with Timothy Hugh, Steven Doane and Johannes Goritzki at the Royal College of Music and at the Robert Schumann Hochschule, Düsseldorf respectively.[2] Master-classes with Mstislav Rostropovich, Janos Starker and Aldo Parisot led him to France, Italy and North America. He was a member of the World Orchestra for Peace during the 2003 tour with Valery Gergiev. He studied conducting with Professor Thomas Gabrisch[2] in Düsseldorf and worked closely with Yan-Pascal Tortelier as his assistant conductor, among others with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

In 2001[2] he founded the Schumann Camerata, a chamber orchestra with whom he subsequently performed over 80 concerts. In 2005, he won first prize in the 2005 Leeds Conductors Competition.[3] In the same year, Shelley conceived the "440Hz" project, a series of concerts involving prominent German television and stage personalities, to attract young adults to the concert hall.[2] Guest artists have included Konrad Beikircher, Gotz Alsmann&Band, Die Wise Guys, Blank&Jones, BASTA, Ensemble Six, Miki, Curse, Reen, Mellow Mark, Ono, Chima, Marlies Petersen and Ralf Bauer.[4]

In 2009, Shelley became Artistic Director of the Zukunftslabor project of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.[5] In September 2009, Shelley became the youngest ever Principal Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, with an initial contract of four years. In 2011, his contract was extended to 2017.[6]

In October 2013, the NACO announced the appointment of Shelley as its next music director, as of the 2015-2016 season, with an initial contract of 4 years.[7][2][8] In January 2015, the RPO named Shelley its principal associate conductor.[9]

His professional opera conducting debut was for Royal Danish Opera in 2008, conducting a production of The Merry Widow. Shelley's first album for Deutsche Grammophon, with Daniel Hope and the Stockholm Philharmonic was released in September 2014.

Shelley and his wife Zoe, a fitness model and personal trainer,[1] were married in July 2011 at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge. He is the Dance4Life Ambassador for Germany and patron of House meets Charity e.v.[10]


  1. ^ a b Andrew Duffy (2015-09-14). "Alexander Shelley: The measure of the modern maestro". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Alexander Shelley to replace NACO's Pinchas Zukerman in 2015". CBC News. October 30, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Exciting new talent rises to challenge of demanding score". The Yorkshire Post. 11 July 2005. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  4. ^ "Veranstaltungsreihen". SMKP. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  5. ^ "Shelley Kuenstlerische Leiter des Zukunftslabor" (Press release). Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  6. ^ "Vertragsverlaengerung Shelley" (PDF) (Press release). Nuernberger Symphoniker. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  7. ^ "Canada’s National Arts Centre announces Alexander Shelley as its Music Director-designate Renowned conductor to lead NAC Orchestra in 2015-2016". NAC. October 30, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ Martin Knelman (2015-09-16). "Meet Alexander Shelley, Ottawa's charismatic new conductor". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  9. ^ "Alexander Shelley Appointed Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra". Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Shelley Schirmherr" (Press release). House meet Charity e.v. October 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-20. 

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Bernhard Gueller
Chief Conductor, Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Pinchas Zukerman
Music Director, National Arts Centre Orchestra
Succeeded by