NAPLES, FL (April 18, 2023) — Artis—Naples Board Chair Lois D. Juliber and CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen announced today that conductor Alexander Shelley has been named the Sharon and Timothy Ubben Artistic and Music Director. Shelley begins his tenure in this role in the 2024-25 season, and his partnership with Artis—Naples begins immediately as Artistic and Music Director Designate through the 2023-24 season. As Artistic and Music Director of Artis─Naples, home of The Baker Museum and the Naples Philharmonic, Shelley will provide artistic leadership for the Naples Philharmonic, as well as the entire multidisciplinary organization. He succeeds Andrey Boreyko, whose tenure concluded in 2022.

This appointment marks the conductor’s first titled position in the U.S. In addition to his role at Artis—Naples, Shelley will remain Music Director of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and Principal Associate Conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, positions he has held since 2015.   

“On behalf of the entire search committee, I can say with certainty that we are thrilled that Alexander Shelley will be joining our fine institution,” said Lynne Haarlow, Artis—Naples Board member and Chair of Search Committee. “Chairing this committee was a great responsibility and I am so proud of the group for their dedication and thoughtfulness throughout this process. I know we have chosen an engaging and talented artistic leader in Alexander, who we are all eager to welcome.”

Of his new appointment, Alexander Shelley said, “The rich foundations that have been laid over recent decades at this vibrant multidisciplinary arts organization fill me with optimism and ambition for all that we can build together in the coming years. The spirit of the orchestra is infectious in its passion and musicianship, the administrative and artistic leadership inspirational, and the community fully engaged in cementing Artis—Naples as a Floridian and national hub for the Arts in the 21st Century. I feel humbled and privileged to be assuming artistic leadership for this forward-looking organization and cannot wait to get started!”

“I have admired Alexander Shelley’s work not just as a musician, but as a creative leader who understands the role that the arts can play in the daily lives of a community,” said Artis—Naples CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen. “We know that Artis—Naples’ multidisciplinary approach has helped shape the extraordinary development of this part of Southwest Florida and can serve as a model for the future of cultural institutions and audiences around the world, so we are thrilled that he embraces this approach and shares these same values of community, cultural curiosity, artistic excellence and engagement. I am inspired by our partnership and the levels to which we can collectively aspire!”

Shelley was unanimously selected for his inspiration and leadership from the podium, his confidence in the future role of the orchestra, the value he places on the relationship between an arts organization and its community, and his innovative approach to multidisciplinary programming. After a successful Naples Philharmonic debut in February 2022 with performances that included Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde – An Orchestral Passion he was immediately

re-engaged for a January 2023 program that featured Venezuelan pianist and composer Gabriela Montero as soloist in a work of her own, alongside a less-familiar Romantic-era piece (Emilie Mayer’s Faust Overture) and a staple from the classical catalogue, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Shelley is scheduled to conduct three programs during the 2023-24 season as Artistic and Music Director Designate. Programming for next season will be announced in the coming days. The 2024-25 season will mark his first of four seasons as Artistic and Music Director.

Naples Philharmonic Principal Oboe, Judy Christy said, “It was an honor to participate in this search, and for the musicians on the search committee it was a clear choice after careful consideration. Alexander Shelley’s chemistry with the orchestra and ability to communicate his musical ideas were critical elements we looked for, and not only did we find these, the audience’s reactions showed us that they did as well! I’m looking forward to this exciting next step for our orchestra and making music at the highest artistic level under Maestro Shelley’s baton.”  

Artis—Naples Board Chair Lois D. Juliber added, “Naples is a growing and diversifying community, and Artis—Naples strives to represent that diversity across all of our offerings. Alexander Shelley brings a range of experience with a multidisciplinary arts institution to his role at Artis—Naples, and we feel sure he will be embraced by all audiences as he engages with our community.”

The Search Committee was composed of members of the Board, the CEO and President, the Executive Vice President of Artistic Operations, and four musicians of the Naples Philharmonic who were elected by the full orchestra and who each represented a section of the ensemble. 

Artis—Naples is unique among cultural institutions nationwide. Home of The Baker Museum and the Naples Philharmonic, Artis─Naples is committed to a distinctive multidisciplinary mission featuring both the visual and performing arts. Each season, Artis─Naples presents a wide array of classical and popular music, jazz, theater, dance, film and museum exhibitions featuring artists of global distinction, including the recent Florida debuts of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Through the fostering of cross-genre themes and collaborations, Artis─Naples engages more than 300,000 audience members of all ages each year through more than 800 events, many of which are free.

The Baker Museum exhibitions regularly draw from its 4,000+ piece permanent collection featuring Mexican and American modern and contemporary art, and often showcases traveling exhibitions from the world’s renowned museums and lending institutions, including the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

The Naples Philharmonic performs more than 140 orchestral and chamber music concerts, as well as opera, ballet, education, community and special event concerts at home and across the Southwest Florida region each season. Violinist James Ehnes’ role as artistic partner was recently extended through the 2023-24 season, and Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly enters his 14th season in his role with the 2023-24 season.

Paramount to Artis—Naples’ mission are its education and community programs for students and adults of all ages in Collier and southern Lee counties. Collier County Public Schools proudly partner with Artis—Naples education programming, including welcoming every third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eleventh grade class to a Naples Philharmonic performance each season, as well as supporting scores of school field trips to The Baker Museum. The Lifelong Learning program provides opportunities for over 8,600 adult participants to engage more deeply with the arts and gain insight into a wide variety of topics including literature, film, dance, health, music and more. Artis—Naples also presents the annual Naples International Film Festival (NIFF), which celebrates its 15th year in the community in the 2023-24 season.