B i o g r a p h y

Joel Sandelson’s engaging and insightful musicianship was recognised internationally in summer 2021 after winning the Salzburg Festival’s Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award, firmly placing him as one of the most exciting emerging conductors. Joel has also been selected as a winner designate of the inaugural International Conducting Competition Rotterdam and will return to the Netherlands in 2022 to work with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and Doelen Ensemble. Other upcoming engagements include debuts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatsorchester Stuttgart, and ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra in his return to the Salzburg Festival.

Joel recently completed two seasons as Assistant Conductor to Thomas Dausgaard at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Leverhulme Conducting Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is founder and director of the London-based period instrument orchestra Wond’rous Machine, with whom he has made recent debuts at the Southbank Centre and St John’s Smith Square.  He has worked with orchestras including the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Camerata Salzburg, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Hallé, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of St John’s. He has assisted conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Trevor Pinnock and Yan Pascal Tortelier.

Sandelson graduated from Cambridge University with a double starred First in music and went on to study conducting at the Royal Academy of Music with Sian Edwards, gaining the DipRAM prize. At Cambridge he won first prize in the Cambridge University Conducting Competition in 2014 and 2015, conducting concert tours in Europe as the university’s Conducting Scholar. He also won third prize at the Siemens-Hallé International Conductors Competition in 2020. Joel has studied at Tanglewood as well as in masterclasses with Sir Roger Norrington, Martyn Brabbins, Thomas Søndergård, Joseph Swensen, Jorma Panula and Mark Stringer. Originally a cellist, early highlights included solo recitals at Wigmore Hall and concertos with orchestras in the UK and Europe, as well as performing as a chamber musician and baroque cellist with ensembles including the Endellion Quartet, La Serenissima and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.