Mark Shiell is an inspirational musician who believes that making and sharing music should uplift the lives of all who are involved. Mark is an avid meditator with a commitment to music being a force for good. With this commitment and despite considerable professional success in the early stages of his career he decided not to focus on typical career goals. Instead, he has worked to make a positive contribution to peoples lives through music by centring his conducting life on 3 separate areas - youth, community and professional conducting. This commitment has seen him serve not only as a regular Guest Conductor for many orchestras but also as Artistic Director/Principal Conductor for orchestras and orchestral initiatives that support opportunities for young musicians, community musicians and regionally based musicians for whom such opportunities may be scarce.
Mark's professional work includes conducting the Melbourne Symphony, West Australian Symphony, Sydney Sinfonia, Canberra Symphony, Victorian Opera, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, Halcyon Ensemble, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.
Mark community work includes 8 years as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Zelman Symphony. The Zelman Symphony enjoyed a period of phenomenal growth and development under Mark's leadership with a sharp rise in standards and an enormous increase in audience support. Highlights during this time were unforgettable performances of Mahler Symphony no. 8 and Shostakovich Symphony no. 13 among many others. His support for community music has also included years as Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra, Macquarie Philharmonia, Melbourne New Orchestra, Choir of the Southern Cross, Barrier Reef Orchestra and Canberra Concerto Orchestra. Mark now serves as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Orchestra Geelong who are experiencing a period of extraordinary growth and development under his leadership.
Mark's third conducting passion is to work with young musicians. He has been a frequent guest of the State Music Camps of Victoria and South Australia and the Melbourne Youth Orchestras Summer School. He has been a guest conductor for both the Sydney and Melbourne Conservatorium, Monash Academy, Canberra's Australian National University, the Australian Medical Students Orchestra and served as the Principal Conductor for the Percy Grainger Youth Orchestra. He is currently in the early stages of development of a regionally based youth orchestra based in the Victorian regional city of Geelong. Internationally Mark has been invited to work with youth ensembles in Japan and China - mostly recently at the Sichuan Conservatorium in the Chinese city of Chengdu. As a teacher and clinician Mark has presented conducting classes and workshops for the Melbourne Youth Orchestras Summer School, the University of Melbourne, Monash University School of Music and others.
Born in Ouyen, Victoria, Australia Mark studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and the University of Melbourne Conservatorium before further studies in Russia and Italy. He first captured national attention after winning the Stacey Award for Emerging Conductors and subsequently presenting a three-part series for ABC TV on 'What do Conductors Do?' His first international engagements quickly followed with performances in Japan with Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.
Conductor Mark Shiell directed his forces with clarity and vigour...Clive O'Connell Sydney Morning Herald
September 18. 2017
The remarkable Mark Shiell, the orchestra’s Artistic Director & Principal Conductor appointed in 2009, charges up the public with his phenomenal charisma.
Bohemian Rhapsody Club
Following an informative pre - concert introduction by Mark Shiell that touched on the youthful brilliance of Mendelssohn ...Mark Shiell guided the orchestra with great energy along with the delicate key changes. Although only lasting about ten minutes, the delivery was fused with power and gentleness, giving the audience great delight, touching even the older romantics!
Bohemian Rhapsody Club
The energetic and nurtured direction of conductor Mark Shiell continued in the second half presenting Symphony No 1 by Tchaikovsky – Winter Daydreams. With a dreamy start, the energy bubbled with excitement - a wonderful interplay between the strings and woodwind. The inventiveness and traits of Tchaikovsky’s genius showed its presence as the orchestra nurtured his folk filled melodies. ...the quiet and gentle beginning flowered into bloom ..the audience was treated to a finale blended with rich and full bodied harmonious musicality!
Bohemian Rhapsody Club
With an orchestra of over 80 players and a chorus of over 60 singers assembled on stage, conductor Mark Shiell took to the podium to deliver a direct and heartfelt account of the Shostakovich. The sheer sonic scale of the enterprise was impressive, but even more impressive is the composer’s deployment of the available forces, which Shiell enabled with admirable economy and clarity.....the lasting impression was of musical coherence and dramatic impact...Throughout this hour of fervent music, there were many telling moments, ranging from the monumental to the intimate.
September 19. 2017
There was so much feeling that oozed from the artists on the stage, it was contagious and the audience felt the impact.
When the concert came to an end, people rose from their seats. They were clapping through tears, affected by the sincere and moving performance by all on stage. There is a good reason why the audience was so touched by this concert.
Shostakovich 13th Symphony - 2017