Shelley Soerensen is a versatile musician who has been working as the guest principal violist of the Sinfonie Orchester Biel Solothurn for the last season as well as with the orchestra of Musique des Lumières. Her love of historically informed performance has also lead her recently to perform chamber music with Theatrum Affectuum, specialising in music from 17th and 18th Century Italy, England and Germany.
She has previously been playing with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra since 2009, and has performed as Principal Violist on numerous occasions. Shelley also worked with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra on Baroque viola, with whom she has appeared as a soloist and regular guest principal. Also in the the HIP (Historically Informed Performance) arena Shelley recently lead the viola section for the Australian Haydn Ensemble’s chart-topping debut CD as well as leading the violas for the Helpmann-award-winning opera production of Agrippina for Brisbane Baroque. In addition to this, Shelley performed regularly with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with whom she has toured to China and has toured Australia extensively with other ensembles including the Czech National Symphony Orchestra with Andrea Bocelli.
Shelley’s eclectic taste in music has driven her to collaborate with many different musicians from Australia and abroad, most recently performing as part of s t a r g a z e in Berlin with members of The National, The Staves, Poliça, This Is the Kit, Kill the vultures, Lisa Hannigan and more. This means that she is much in demand as a seasoned session musician for film and television scores as well as pop, rock, folk and some genre-defying electronic music too.
Due to her lofty stature, Shelley was often encouraged to take up the viola and finally did so after graduating from her Bachelor of Music Degree with First Class Honours from the University of Leeds (UK). Since then, her love of the deep, warm & rich alto tone has only grown. This prompted Shelley to study further, gaining a postgraduate diploma from the Sydney Conservatorium, studying with Roger Benedict and a Masters Degree from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester whilst freelancing in England with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia and the Orchestra of Opera North. Shelley is also a committed pedagogue who gave weekly instrumental tuition in schools throughout the Yorkshire countryside whilst completing her academic work. She then continued sharing her passion for music by tutoring orchestral studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School and giving instrumental lessons on violin and viola at SCEGGS, Darlinghurst and The Scots College.
When not performing on an elaborate piece of timber, Shelley enjoys walking through the woods in the beautiful Swiss countryside, taking too many photographs and seeking out the best coffee, food and wine in her current vicinity.