Headshot of Alexander Shelley © Curtis Perry
Music Director, NAC Orchestra

Alexander Shelley

Last updated: May 19, 2023

Alexander Shelley succeeded Pinchas Zukerman as Music Director of Canada’s NAC Orchestra in September 2015. The ensemble has since been praised as being “transformed... hungry, bold, and unleashed” (Ottawa Citizen) and Shelley’s programming credited for turning the orchestra into “one of the more audacious in North America” (Maclean’s). 

Shelley is a champion of Canadian creation; recent hallmarks include the multimedia projects Life Reflected and UNDISRUPTED, and three major new ballets in partnership with NAC Dance for Encount3rs. He is passionate about arts education and nurturing the next generation of musicians. He is an Ambassador for Ottawa’s OrKidstra, a charitable social development program that teaches children life skills through making music together. 

Alexander Shelley is also the Principal Associate Conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Artistic and Music Director of Artis-Naples and the Naples Philharmonic in Florida, USA. In the spring of 2019, he led the NAC Orchestra on its critically acclaimed 50th Anniversary European tour, and in 2017, he led the Orchestra in a tour across Canada, celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. Most recently, he led the Orchestra in its first performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 30 years. 

He has made seven recordings with the NAC Orchestra, including the JUNO-nominated New Worlds, Life Reflected, ENCOUNT3RS, The Bounds of Our Dreams, Darlings of the Muses, Lyrical Echoes, and Atmosphere and Mastery, all with Montreal label Analekta. 

The Music Director role is supported by Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LL.D. (hc) 

Upcoming events

  1. Opera is back at the NAC with a thrilling performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, featuring a superstar cast of soloists and Ottawa’s amazing and … read more

  2. Happy Canada Day! Join us July 1 for this free concert celebrating Canada and Canadians through the diverse artistry and unparalleled creativity of Canada’s … read more

  3. Celebrate the lights, sights, and sounds of summer in the city with orchestral hits from Gershwin and Bernstein, alongside joyful tributes to jazz, Baroque, and … read more

Projects & initiatives

NAC media featuring Alexander Shelley