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Alexander Shelley appointed as Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to announce the appointment of Alexander Shelley, “a conductor of superlative gifts”, as its new Principal Associate Conductor. Already appointed as Music Director-designate of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, he will join the select list of esteemed artists who currently conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

British born in 1979 and the son of professional musicians, Alexander first gained widespread acclaim when he was unanimously awarded first prize at the 2005 Leeds Conductors Competition. Since then, his career has flourished with demands from orchestras around the world, including Stockholm Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, DSO Berlin, Simon Bolivar, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Melbourne, Seattle and Houston Symphony Orchestras, to name but a few.

Full of enthusiasm, versatility and panache, Shelley will commence his role from January 2015, as he conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a series of concerts around the UK, visiting some of the Orchestra’s key-resident venues in programmes to include music by Shostakovich, Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Vaughan Williams; alongside pianistAlessio Bax. Future programmes will include a series of concerts titledThe Roaring 20s - a diverse programme selected and conducted by Alexander Shelley, devoted to one of the most creative times in music-making, including works by Ibert, Cole Porter, Prokofiev, Milhaud and Ravel.  

Alexander Shelley says…    

"Since our very first meeting I have been inspired by the musicianship, dedication and passion of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and impressed by their strong commitment to their faithful audiences both at home and abroad. I am very proud and privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to this fine orchestra's tradition of excellence and I look forward to many exciting collaborations over the coming years."

Ian Maclay Managing Director, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra says…

This is an exciting time for the Orchestra.  Alexander Shelley is an exhilarating prospect and the musicians of the Orchestra are looking forward to developing their relationship with him. His enthusiasm and charisma on stage is certainly something to watch out for and we anticipate this being a very exciting musical-partnership.”

Alexander Shelley was appointed Music Director-designate of Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra in October 2013 and will take up the position of Music Director in September 2015. In 2015 he  enters his seventh year as Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra where he has transformed the orchestra’s playing, education work and touring activities which have included tours to Italy, Belgium, China and a re-invitation to the Musikverein in Vienna. In January 2015 Shelley was named Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he will curate and perform a series of concerts at Cadogan Hall each season.

Born in the UK in 1979, Alexander first gained widespread attention when he was unanimously awarded first prize at the 2005 Leeds Conductors Competition and was described as "the most exciting and gifted young conductor to have taken this highly prestigious award. His conducting technique is immaculate, everything crystal clear and a tool to his inborn musicality."

Since then he has been in demand from orchestras around the world including the Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Stockholm Philharmonic, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, DFO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Simon Bolivar, Seattle and Houston Symphony Orchestras.  Further afield Alexander is a regular guest with the top Asian and Australasian orchestras. Recent press has singled him out as "a musician of considerable gifts and extraordinarily impressive interpretative qualities" (Strauss, Elgar and Sibelius in London), a conductor with "exceptional artistic authority" (Brahms with DSO Berlin) and described his Verdi Requiem in Salzburg as an "original, intelligent, thoroughly convincing and well-crafted interpretation".

Alexander’s operatic engagements have included The Merry Widow and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet for Royal Danish Opera; La Bohème for Opera Lyra at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Iolanta with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Cosi fan tutte in Montpellier and a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for Opera North in 2015.

Alongside his regular appearances in London, Ottawa and Nuremberg, the 2014/15 season and beyond includes return visits to, among others, the DSO Berlin, Gothenburg Symphony, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Melbourne Symphony and NDR Radio Philharmonic as well as his debuts with Camerata Salzburg, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg and Oslo Philharmonic. His first recording for Deutsche Grammophon, an album with Daniel Hope and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, was released in September 2014.

In Germany Alexander enjoys a close relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, with whom he performs regularly both in subscriptions in Bremen, and around Germany, and in October 2013 he took the orchestra on tour to Italy with a signature programme of Strauss, Wagner and Brahms. He is artistic director of their Zukunftslabor project - an award-winning series which aims to build a lasting relationship between the orchestra and a new generation of concert-goers through grass-roots engagement and which uses music as a source for social cohesion and integration.

The son of professional musicians, inspiring future generations of musicians and audiences has always been central to Alexander’s work. In Spring 2014 he conducted an extended tour of Germany with the Bundesjugendorchester and Bundesjugendballett which included a collaborative concert at the Baden-Baden Easter Festival with Sir Simon Rattle and members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. In 2001, during his cello and conducting studies in Dusseldorf, he founded the Schumann Camerata with whom he created "440Hz", an innovative concert series involving prominent German television, stage and musical personalities, conceived by him as a major initiative to attract young adults to the concert hall.