Mark Shiell - Artistic Director/Principal Conductor
Before conducting took his focus Mark played as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician around Australia and Asia. He had his professional debut as concerto soloist with the Philharmonia of Melbourne at age 16. Graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1992 with the Gwen Nisbett Award for Outstanding Musical Achievement Mark was featured as soloist on several occasions with the orchestras of the Victorian College of the Arts and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. Other awards have since included the Clarke Scholarship and Welsford Smithers Travelling Scholarship.
Conducting has taken Mark around the world including Japan, Russia and Italy. Internationally he has studied with Alexander Polyanichko in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Ponkin in Moscow and Ennio Nicotra in Italy. His main conducting teachers in Australia were John Hopkins and Graham Abbott. Mark completed his Masters in Conducting at the University of Melbourne in 2004 and in 2005 Mark was awarded the Brian Stacey Award for emerging conductors - a national award of recognition.
Over the last two decades Mark’s commitment to regular conducting roles has accounted for the majority of his musical life but guest conducting has included performances with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Symphony, St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Victorian Opera and Sydney Sinfonia.
Mark has worked with some of the most renowned Australia and International musicians. These include Barry Tuckwell, Julian Jacobson, David Griffith, Barbara Jane Gilby, Benjamin Martin, Charlotte Winslade, Merlyn Quaife, Nicole Carr, Adrian Tamburini, Rosamund Iling, Antoinette Halloran, Hoang Pham, Jiwon Kim, Wilma Smith, Oystein Baadsvick and many others.
Mark’s love of community and youth music has kept him very busy. These include years as Principal Conductor of the Percy Grainger Youth Orchestra, Ballarat Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne New Orchestra, Canberra Concerto Orchestra, Zelman Symphony Orchestra and the Macquarie Philharmonia. He has been a frequent guest conductor for the State Music Camps of Victoria and South Australia and the Melbourne Youth Orchestras Summer School.
Mark has worked many times with ensembles in regional Australia. Growing up in Western Victoria Mark is now focusing on creating opportunities for the people of Regional areas. Among his initiatives is the Victorian Regional Orchestra which meets over a weekend to bring together and inspire musicians across Victoria. The enthusiasm among participants for the continued development of this initiative is enormous.
Currently Mark is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Orchestra Geelong and the Principal Conductor of the Percy Grainger Youth Orchestra.
The Orchestra are embarking on an ambitious range of initiatives to offer new opportunities for musicians of all ages in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. These initiatives include the development of the Geelong Youth Orchestra. Alongside instrumental opportunities the orchestra is also working to provide the possibility of local ballet and opera performances alongside initiatives to support conductor development.