B i o g r a p h y

Joel Sandelson has recently enjoyed success at several major conducting competitions. He has been selected both as a winner designate of the inaugural International Conducting Competition Rotterdam and as a finalist of the Salzburg Festival’s Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award after working with Sinfonia Rotterdam and the Mozarteum Orchestra respectively. As a result he will perform with the Camerata Salzburg in August 2021 and work with four major Dutch orchestras including the Rotterdam Philharmonic in 2022. He also reached the semifinal of the Malko Competition 2021 and won third prize at the Siemens-Hallé International Conductors Competition in 2020.


Joel recently completed two years as assistant conductor to Thomas Dausgaard at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Leverhulme Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He also directs the London-based period instrument orchestra Wond’rous Machine, making recent debuts together at the Southbank Centre and St John’s Smith Square. He graduated from Cambridge University in 2016 with a double starred First in Music, receiving multiple prizes, and then studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music with Sian Edwards, gaining the DipRAM prize.

In various settings he has worked with orchestras including the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Hallé, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St John’s and Red Note Ensemble. He has assisted conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Trevor Pinnock, Yan Pascal Tortelier and John Wilson. He has also studied at Tanglewood as well as with conductors including Martyn Brabbins, Sir Roger Norrington, Mark Stringer, Jorma Panula, Thomas Søndergård, Joseph Swensen, Garry Walker and Colin Metters, and was invited to participate in the 2020 Gstaad Festival Academy with Jaap van Zweden. He was conductor of the Barbican Chamber Orchestra 2013-17, and at Cambridge he was Conducting Scholar of the Cambridge University Music Society for two years after winning the university's conducting competition twice, conducting concerts with the university’s flagship symphony orchestra at home and on tours in Europe.

Originally a cellist, he has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, including several recitals at Wigmore Hall and concertos with orchestras in the UK and Europe. Other highlights include appearances at festivals in Europe, Israel and Canada; premieres of solo and chamber works by Lowell Liebermann, Sir Nicholas Jackson and Kamran Ince; a performance of Steve Reich’s cello music in the presence of the composer; chamber collaborations with the Endellion and Celan Quartets; and success in several national competitions, including reaching the strings final of BBC Young Musician. He remains active as a chamber and orchestral musician principally on historical cellos, recently performing with La Serenissima and members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.