Shelley, Howard (Gordon)

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Shelley, Howard (Gordon)

Shelley, Howard (Gordon) , English pianist and conductor; b. London, March 9, 1950. He studied piano in childhood and was only 10 when he appeared on British television. He subsequently studied at the Royal Coll. of Music in London (1967–71), his principal mentors being Harold Craxton, Kendall Taylor, Lamar Crowson, and Ilona Kabos. In 1971 he received the Dannreuther Concerto Prize and the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and also made his formal debut at London’s Wigmore Hall. In 1972 he made his first appearance at London’s Promenade Concerts, a televised event that launched his international career. After marrying the pianist Hilary Macnamara in 1975, he made duo appearances with her as well as continuing his solo career. In 1983 he played all the solo piano works of Rachmaninoff for the first time in a cycle at Wigmore Hall. After making his debut as a conductor with the London Sym. Orch. in 1985, he pursued a dual career as pianist and conductor. From 1990 to 1992 he was assoc. conductor of the London Mozart Players, and then served as its principal guest conductor from 1992 to 1998. In addition to such masters as Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Vaughan Williams, and Hindemith, Shelley has championed the piano music of contemporary composers, including Sir Michael Tippett, Howard Ferguson, Peter Dickinson, and Edward Cowie.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire