Philharmonie Südwestfalen & Nabil Shehata

Biography Philharmonie Südwestfalen & Nabil Shehata

Philharmonie Südwestfalen & Nabil Shehata

Nabil Shehata
“Giving space to music” runs like a thread through Nabil Shehata’s life, both literally and figuratively. As a nine-year-old, the double bass opens the door to, in his words, “the most beautiful repertoire there is” – namely that of classical music. As a young person, he feels the growing desire to be involved in this music as a conductor.

Nabil Shehata follows this impulse, gives up his position as principal bass player of the Berlin Philharmonic, and has since successfully embarked on a career as a conductor.

A critic recently wrote that he conducts with “authority full of ease,” an observation that corresponds precisely with what Nabil Shehata is aiming for: “It’s about resonating with each other. This is what creates music. This is what I want to achieve with orchestras.”

Nabil Shehata has developed a conducting style that is closely related to chamber music making because he is convinced that “this is how music is created that can achieve what audiences, orchestras, and conductors alike desire: unforgettable concert experiences!“

Nabil Shehata’s career began as principal bass player with the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Berlin Philharmonic. As a conductor, he has been mentored and taught by Christian Thielemann, Rolf Reuter, and Lawrence Forster, among others. Since 2019, he has been chief conductor of the Philharmonie Südwestfalen and has recently guest conducted, among other ensembles, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Robert Schumann Philharmonic, and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. Not long ago he made his conducting debut with great success at the soldout Elbphilharmonie.

Prior to his current position, he was chief conductor at the Munich Chamber Opera, and broadened his experience at the Berlin State Opera as an assistant to Daniel Barenboim. As a professor of double bass in Munich and Berlin as well as a member of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, he has passed on his experience to younger musicians for many years. In his hometown of Verden, Nabil Shehata founded the Maiklänge chamber music festival, where he pursues a project close to his heart in organizing high-quality concerts there.

The Philharmonie Südwestfalen
has carried the title of State Orchestra of North Rhine-Westfalia since 1992. Based in Hilchenbach/Siegen-Wittgenstein, the Philharmonic is active in the entire South Westfalia region, in addition to regular guest-performances across Germany, as well as in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and the Czech Republic.

Successful tours to France and to China underline the international recognition of the orchestra. Guest performances have included the 2007 Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, in Rome, in Milan, as well as in Amsterdam. In 2016 the Philharmonie Südwestfalen was active as a festival orchestra with numerous performances in Switzerland.

An orchestra excelling in classical, romantic, as well as modern concert repertoire, the Philharmonie Südwestfalen has benefitted, to much acclaim, from its open-minded programming. Everything from modern works to baroque pieces can be heard regularly throughout the season. In 2007 the Philharmonie premiered two commissioned pieces by the composers Iris ter Schiphorst and Gerhard Stäbler.

Philharmonie Südwestfalen places particular emphasis on education. The orchestra performs several Teddy-Bear Concerts for kindergarten-aged children, an annual series of school concerts for elementary students, as well as maintaining partnerships with Märkisches Jugend-Sinfonieorchester. The Philharmonie is also actively involved in the advancement of young talented conductors in regular collaboration with the Conductors Forum of the Deutscher Musikrat, as well as with the music universities.

The musicians of the Philharmonie Südwestfalen present numerous chamber music concerts in smaller settings, including modern programs at the Siegen Museum of Modern Art. In addition to regular recordings and programs for German radio, the orchestra could be seen live on WDR television for the Advent Concert (attended by North-Rhein Westfalen’s Minister-President) in 2006, 2007, 2013, and 2016.

The Philharmonie Südwestfalen has been led by their new chief conductor Nabil Shehata since the start of the 2019/20 season.

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