*9 III 1950
After winning the premier prize at the Royal College of Music at the end of his first year, Howard Shelley's career began with a highly successful London recital and a televised Promenade concert with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson-Thomas in the same season. Since then he has performed regularly throughout the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, North America, Russia, Australia, and the Far East. He has also made over ninety highly acclaimed commercial recordings.
As pianist he has performed, broadcast and recorded around the world with leading orchestras and conductors including Ashkenazy, Boulez, Boult, Davis, Jansons, Rozhdestvensky and Sanderling. In a unique series of five London recitals, broadcast by the BBC, he played Rachmaninov's complete solo piano music. He has given complete cycles of Rachmaninov concertos with the Royal Scottish National, Beethoven concertos with the BBC Philharmonic and Mozart concerto series with the London Mozart Players, Camerata Salzburg and Munich Symphony.
As conductor he has performed with the London Philharmonic, London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, the Philharmonia, Royal Scottish National and Ulster orchestras as well as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico, Munich Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Symphony Orchestra, amongst many others.
He has held positions of Associate and Principal Guest Conductor with the London Mozart Players in a close relationship of over twenty years. He has toured with them to Japan, Korea, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Holland, Ireland and to the Prague Autumn Festival. Their many recordings together have in every case received exceptional critical acclaim. Shelley has also been Principal Conductor of Sweden's Uppsala Chamber Orchestra and works closely with the Camerata Salzburg, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto in Italy and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Australia with whom he has recorded several discs. Other chamber orchestras with whom he has worked include the English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Chamber, Zurich Chamber, Netherlands Chamber & Stuttgart Chamber orchestras, the Northern Sinfonia, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Leipzig Kammerphilharmonie & the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano.
He has appeared regularly on television since the age of ten when he gave a recital of Bach and Chopin. He was soloist at the 100th anniversary of the Promenade Concerts, a concert which was televised world-wide. A documentary on Ravel made in 1998 by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, featuring Shelley as conductor, pianist and presenter won the Gold Medal for the best arts biography of the year at the New York Festivals Awards.
His many recordings for Chandos, Hyperion and EMI include award-winning sets of Rachmaninov's complete piano music and concertos, series of Mozart, Hummel, Mendelssohn, Moscheles and Cramer& Herz concertos as well as all Gershwin's works for piano & orchestra and a series of British concertos including Alwyn, Bridge, Howells, Rubbra, Scott, Tippett and Vaughan Williams.
Howard Shelley is married to fellow pianist Hilary Macnamara, with whom he has performed and recorded in a two-piano partnership, and they have two sons. In 1994 an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Music was conferred on him by HRH The Prince of Wales.