Alexander Shelley to replace NACO's Pinchas Zukerman in 2015

A 34-year-old English conductor will be taking over for Pinchas Zukerman in 2015, the National Arts Centre announced Wednesday.

34-year-old English conductor of Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra to lead NAC Orchestra

The NAC Orchestra officially welcomed Alexander Shelley, taking over as conductor in 2015. 2:23

A 34-year-old English conductor will be taking over from Pinchas Zukerman in 2015, the National Arts Centre announced Wednesday.

Alexander Shelley will take over for Pinchas Zukerman on Sept. 1, 2015. (

Alexander Shelley, a cellist, is currently chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held for more than four years. 

"The son of professional musicians, Shelley studied cello with Timothy Hugh and Steven Doane at the Royal College of Music and Professor Johannes Goritzki at the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule, Dusseldorf. He studied conducting with Professor Thomas Gabrisch and in 2001 he founded the Schumann Camerata in Dusseldorf," according to a biography posted on his website.

"Following over 80 concerts with this young chamber orchestra both in Germany and abroad, last season they presented the fourth edition of '440Hz', an innovative series of concerts involving prominent German television, stage and musical personalities which Shelley conceived as a major initiative to attract young adults to the concert hall."

Zukerman has been leading the NAC Orchestra since 1999. His upcoming departure in 2015 was announced last year.

“Alexander Shelley is one of the leading figures in the new generation of international conductors,” said NAC president Peter Herrndorf in a news release issued Wednesday. “He is an exceptionally gifted musician, with a wide range of experience and a strong emphasis on the creation of new work and community engagement. He represents the dynamic new leadership we were seeking to succeed Maestro Pinchas Zukerman in 2015-2016.”

Shelley will begin his post in Ottawa on Sept. 1, 2015.

A news conference will be held at the NAC on Thursday.

“My collaboration with the exceptional musicians of the NAC Orchestra has, from the first moment, been both tremendously exciting and fulfilling," Shelley said in a news release. "I could not be more delighted to be assuming the music directorship of this dynamic institution with which I share so many ambitions: to engage with audiences and communities around the whole of this beautiful country, to promote and support the creation of new Canadian work and, with the help of the extraordinary musical talent in this country, to further cement the highest of artistic standards.”

Shelley was selected following a Canadian and international search.

“Alexander is the ideal choice to lead our orchestra. He will bring a fresh perspective to our core repertoire and a broad vision for our future,” said principal bassoon player Christopher Millard, a member of the search committee. “We are all looking forward to an energetic and imaginative collaboration."


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