Nabil Shehata

General Management

“An honest sound is created when the conductor gives the orchestra the feeling that ‘we are making chamber music together’. Then conductor and orchestra merge and there is this wow effect.” 

Nabil Shehata, BBC Music Award for the best orchestral recording (12|2021)

Principal Conductor of the Philharmonie Südwestfalen since 2019, Nabil Shehata began his conducting career in 2006 after receiving encouragement and valuable teaching from Daniel Barenboim, Rolf Reuter, Lawrence Foster and Christian Thielemann. After gaining initial experience working with various youth and chamber orchestras, Nabil made his conducting debut in Cottbus in 2007 and a year later conducted the Simon Bolivar Orchestra.

Since then he has conducted orchestras all over the world, including Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Düsseldorf Symphony, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland Pfalz, Ljubljana Radio Symphony, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, Padova Chamber Orchestra and Simon Bolivar Orchestra, as well as the Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre, the Evermay Chamber Orchestra of Washington, the Osaka Philharmonic, Kyoto Symphony, Kioi Sinfonietta, New Japan Philharmonic and Macau Philharmonic Orchestra.

After a highly successful production of Mozart’s Der Diener zweier Herren with the Munich Chamber Opera, Nabil was appointed Music Director of the orchestra with immediate effect. Since then he has led the orchestra in various productions such as La finta semplice, Cinderella, Barbiere di Siviglia and Salieri’s Falstaff. The orchestra also organizes a series of special concerts, including Nabil conducting Mahler’s Song of the Earth, and innovative formats, specially designed with actors, around the lives and historical contexts in which composers such as Mozart, Schubert, Rossini, Mahler and Schumann lived.

Highlights of recent seasons include Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with the Munich Chamber Opera, debuts with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester and the Philharmonisches Orchestre Heidelberg, a return to conducting the Philharmonie Südwestfalen, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and leading the Bremer Philharmoniker on tour. In 18/19 he began a residency at the Berlin State Opera working alongside Daniel Barenboim and 19/20 saw him begin his appointment as Principal Conductor of the Philharmonie Südwestfalen, he also returned to conduct the Münchner Rundfunkorchester and made his debut with the Stuttgart Kammerorchester and the Dresdner Philharmoniker.

Born to parents of German and Egyptian origin, Nabil Shehata grew up in Germany and, after receiving piano lessons from his mother, took his first double bass lessons with Thomas Zscherpe at the age of six, continuing with Michinori Bunya and Esko Laine.

He is the winner of numerous international competitions, including the ARD competition in Munich, where he received not only first prize, but also the coveted audience prize. From 2004 to 2008, he was first double bass in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he performed as soloist under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. He commissioned many works for double bass from various composers, including Moritz Eggert’s concerto.

Supporting young artists is of particular importance to Nabil Shehata, who is strongly committed to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, of which he has been a member for many years.

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