Since his highly successful Wigmore Hall debut in 1971 and a televised debut at the Promenade Concerts in the same season, Howard Shelley has consolidated his position as one of Britain's most outstanding artists, performing regularly in London's major concert halls and touring extensively abroad. As a pianist he has been soloist under the baton of such distinguished conductors as Ashkenazy, Boult, Davis, Downes, Gibson, Groves, Herbig, Marriner, Sanderling, Thomson, Weller and Jansons, and has given performances of important contemporary works with Pierre Boulez. Several composers have written concertos especially for him, all of which he has performed and broadcast.
In 1985 Howard Shelley made his professional debut as a conductor. Since then he has conducted the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras and given many concerts with orchestras both in Britain and abroad, including The Philharmonia, the Scottish National, the Ulster Orchestra, the Brighton Philharmonic, the Northern Sinfonia, the English Sinfonia and Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Shelley is now the Principal Guest Conductor of the London Mozart Players, having been Associate Conductor from 1990 to 1992. During the fortieth anniversary of Rachmaninov's death he became the first pianist ever to perform the composer's complete solo piano works in concert. The five London recitals, in London's Wigmore Hall, were broadcast in their entirety by the BBC. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Rachmaninov's death Howard Shelley has given many important concerts including a recital in the Leipzig Gewandhaus on the death-day itself and a recital at Rachmaninov's villa in Lucerne at the invitation of the composer's grandson.
Howard Shelley is also featured in a major documentary of Rachmaninov shown on BBC television. He was made an OBE in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours list.
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