Canadian, early-career professional conductors are invited to apply by March 7

Photo by Curtis Perry
Photo by Curtis Perry

February 1, 2024 – OTTAWA (Canada) – The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) is expanding its suite of professional development programs with the announcement of a new Resident Conductor Program.

The new two-year position, commencing at the start of NACO’s 2024-25 season, provides an immersive professional development opportunity for an emerging Canadian conductor under the mentorship of Music Director Alexander Shelley. ​ Primary responsibilities will include serving as assistant conductor for the Orchestra’s guest conductors as well as with Principal Guest Conductor John Storgårds and Principal Youth Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser. The Resident Conductor will also work closely with NACO’s administrative team to learn about orchestra management, media relations and audience and community engagement. The position will offer a competitive salary and will finance travel for additional professional development. ​

Click to view press kit.


As part of this new program, NACO will collaborate with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a conductor exchange program. The participants from the three orchestras will each spend one week per season with the other two orchestras, working as assistant conductor alongside the respective music director or visiting conductor.

During his tenure as Music Director of the NAC Orchestra, Shelley has championed orchestral musicians, young conductors, music librarians and administrators—creating opportunities for hundreds of young artists to immerse themselves into the full-time professional environment of a world-class orchestra. 

“There is nothing more important than top-flight, hands-on experience for an emerging conductor. Reflecting our passion for professional development and its central role in our work, I believe that our new Resident Conductor position offers a significant opportunity for early-career Canadian conductors. In their side-by-side work with me, our guest conductors and administration and, not least, the time spent conducting our world-class NAC Orchestra, this will be an enriching, wide-ranging and challenging role that will offer an important stepping-stone into the profession." -Alexander Shelley, NACO Music Director.
Nelson McDougall, Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra, expressed his enthusiasm for the creation of this position: “We are thrilled to support the professional development of Canadian conductors and to collaborate with our dear friends at the Montreal and Toronto symphony orchestras in this meaningful exchange which greatly enriches the experience for the conductors. I can’t wait to welcome our new resident conductor and witness their growth under the expert mentorship of our outstanding Music Director, Alexander Shelley, as well as with our NAC Orchestra and administration.” 

Applications open February 1, 2024, and the deadline is March 7, 2024. The Resident Conductor Program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and welcomes candidates who identify as women, Indigenous, Black, People of Colour (IBPoC), and members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, and persons with visible and invisible disabilities. Complete application information is available online. ​ 


The National Arts Centre Foundation wishes to acknowledge the leadership support of Mark Motors Group, Official Car of the NAC Orchestra. The NAC Orchestra Music Director role is supported by Elinor Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LL.D. (hc). Special thanks to the Janice & Earle O’Born Fund for Artistic Excellence. ​ ​ 


Since its debut in 1969, the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) has been praised for the passion and clarity of its performances, its visionary educational programs, and its prominent role in nurturing Canadian creativity. Under the leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NAC Orchestra reflects the fabric and values of Canada, reaching and representing the diverse communities we live in with daring programming, powerful storytelling, inspiring artistry, and innovative partnerships. ​ ​ 

Since its inception, the NAC Orchestra has recorded for radio and more than 40 commercial recordings many of the 100+ new works it has commissioned, primarily from Canadian composers. These include: ​ ​ 

  • Angela Hewitt’s 2015 JUNO Award-winning album of Mozart piano concertos; ​ ​ 
  • The ground-breaking Life Reflected, which includes My Name is Amanda Todd by the late Jocelyn Morlock (winner of the 2018 JUNO for Classical Composition of the Year); ​ ​ 
  • Ana Sokolović’s Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes, 2019 JUNO Winner for Classical Composition of the Year (from the 2019 JUNO-nominated New Worlds); ​ ​ 
  • The 2020 JUNO-nominated The Bounds of Our Dreams, featuring pianist Alain Lefèvre; ​ ​ 
  • Clara, Robert, Johannes, a multi-album series including Lyrical Echoes, nominated for Classical Album of the Year at the 2023 JUNO Awards. ​ ​ 


The National Arts Centre (NAC) is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams—the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety—and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. ​ ​ ​



Allison Caverly
Communications Strategist, NAC Orchestra
Stratège aux communications, Orchestre du CNA


About Toronto Symphony Orchestra

For over a century, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has played a fundamental role in shaping and celebrating Canadian culture. Now in our 101st year, the TSO’s commitment to musical excellence and ability to spark connection remain as strong as ever. With a storied history of acclaimed concerts and recordings, Canadian and international tours, and impactful community partnerships, we are dedicated to engaging and enriching local and national communities through vibrant musical experiences. Music Director Gustavo Gimeno brings an expansive artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and sense of adventure to programming the nearly 100-musician orchestra that serves Toronto—one of the world’s most diverse cities. As a group of artists, teachers, and advocates who share the belief that music has the power to heal, inspire, and connect people from all walks of life, we engage audiences young and old through an array of education, community access and health and wellness initiatives. The 2023/24 season marks the 50th anniversary of the TSO-affiliated Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra—a tuition-free training program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of Canadian artists. Join us for a concert at Roy Thomson Hall, or experience the TSO in your neighbourhood. Visit TSO.CA or


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