Alexander Gordon Shelley (born 8 October 1979, London, England) is an English conductor. He is currently chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) in Ottawa, as well as principal associate conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).
The son of the pianists Howard Shelley OBE and Hilary Macnamara, Shelley learned piano from his mother and cello from his grandmother. In 1992, he won a music scholarship to Westminster School from The Hall School Hampstead. He studied cello with Timothy Hugh, Steven Doane and Johannes Goritzki at the Royal College of Music and at the Robert Schumann Hochschule, Düsseldorf respectively. Master-classes with Mstislav Rostropovich, Janos Starker and Aldo Parisot led him to France, Italy and North America. He was a member of the World Orchestra for Peace during the 2003 tour with Valery Gergiev. He studied conducting with Professor Thomas Gabrisch in Düsseldorf and worked closely with Yan-Pascal Tortelier as his assistant conductor, among others with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
In 2001 he founded the Schumann Camerata, a chamber orchestra with whom he subsequently performed over 80 concerts. In 2005, he won first prize in the 2005 Leeds Conductors Competition. In the same year, Shelley conceived the "440Hz" project, a series of concerts involving prominent German television and stage personalities, to attract young adults to the concert hall. Guest artists have included Konrad Beikircher, Gotz Alsmann&Band, Die Wise Guys, Blank&Jones, BASTA, Ensemble Six, Miki, Curse, Reen, Mellow Mark, Ono, Chima, Marlies Petersen and Ralf Bauer.
In 2009, Shelley became Artistic Director of the Zukunftslabor project of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. In September 2009, Shelley became the youngest ever Principal Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, with an initial contract of four years. In 2011, his contract was extended to 2017. He is scheduled to conclude his Nuremberg tenure at the close of the 2016-2017 season.
In October 2013, the NACO announced the appointment of Shelley as its next music director, as of the 2015-2016 season, with an initial contract of 4 years. In January 2015, the RPO named Shelley its principal associate conductor.
His professional opera conducting debut was for Royal Danish Opera in 2008, conducting a production of The Merry Widow. Shelley's first album for Deutsche Grammophon, with Daniel Hope and the Stockholm Philharmonic, was released in September 2014.
Shelley and his wife Zoe, a fitness model and personal trainer, were married in July 2011 at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge. He is the Dance4Life Ambassador for Germany and patron of House meets Charity e.v.