Harish Shankar

Resident Conductor, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

Malaysian conductor Harish Shankar is the winner of the 3rd prize at the 6th International Jorma Panula Conducting Competition held in 2015. Harish is the Junior Fellow of Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and current highlights include conducting the RNCM Concert Orchestra, assistantships with the Royal Liverpool and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras as well as his conducting debut with the Hallé Orchestra at Bridgewater Hall.  Previous conducting work includes appearances with Jena Philharmonic, the Leipziger Symphonieorchester, Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra and the North Czech Philharmonic Teplice. Harish completed his Master's Degree in conducting at the prestigious Conservatory of Weimar under the tutelage of Prof. Gunter Kahlert and Markus Frank and has attended master classes with Nicolás Pasquet, Mark Stringer, Paavo and Neeme Järvi, Leonid Grin and Sir Mark Elder. 

Harish Shankar will conduct ten performances with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

11 Apr 2017

As Resident Conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra for 2016/17, Harish Shankar will conduct no fewer than ten performances at the Dewan Philharmonic Petronas concert hall in Kuala...

Malaysian conductor Harish Shankar joins ICA

11 Feb 2016

ICA are thrilled to announce that Malaysian conductor Harish Shankar has joined their roster. Educated in Germany, Harish is the 3rd Prize Winner of the 6th International...

“This [Tchaikovsky's Fatum] was conducted by Harish Shankar, the Royal Northern College of Music’s present junior fellow in conducting, and he made a very impressive Hallé debut indeed. There was power and intensity in the opening and close, refinement and beauty in the more lyrical episodes, and electricity in tone and phrasing as the music grew to its climaxes.  In truth it’s more like a ballet score without a ballet than a symphonic movement, but that gave scope for tension, drama and energy, and Harish Shankar’s style, economic on gesture but effective, gives an orchestra what it needs and nothing else.”

Hallé, Manchester Evening News - Dec 2015

“The first work of the evening was entrusted to Harish Shankar [...]. On the evidence of his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fatum his is a name to watch out for.  It [Tchaikovsky’s Fatum] ranges through varying moods: as Harish Shankar pointed out in his pre-concert interview, fate encompasses light and cheerful aspects as well as more sombre ones, and there were plenty of lyrical themes to enjoy. The ending, however, was astonishing. The music veered into something very modern. One can understand why Balakirev did not like it. I loved it! The whole work was given a fine performance by the Hallé and our conductor in his debut with the orchestra.”

Hallé, Bachtrack - Dec 2015

“Watching him for only the second time tonight he displayed a confidence and passion in his conducting and knows how to bring out the best from such a large ensemble [RNCM Symphony Orchestra].  Between the two of them [Jeremy So, Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2], along with the venue, making the orchestra perform I think, probably the best I have ever heard them.”

RNCM Symphony Orchestra, North West End - Jun 2016

“Passionate and exacting - knowing exactly how to ooze out every last morsel of dynamic from every single instrument. The soft passages were cotton wool, whilst the fortissimo was excellently controlled. His craft is undeniable and he was a joy to watch as he exuded both love and confidence.”

RNCM Symphony Orchestra, North West End - May 2016

Hailed for his exacting skills and passionate conducting, the charismatic Malaysian born Harish Shankar enjoys a growing global presence on the podium.  As prize winner of the 2015 International Jorma Panula Conducting Competition, Mr Shankar currently holds the position of Junior Fellow of Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester, United Kingdom. 

Current highlights include his critically acclaimed debut with The Hallé at Bridgewater Hall, assistantships with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras and concerts with the Royal Northern College of Music Concert Orchestra in Manchester.  Previous appearances include Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Malaysian Philharmonic, Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, Jena Philharmonic, Vaasa City Orchestra, Staatsphilharmonie Braunschweig, Orquesta Sinfónica de Trujillo, North Czech Philharmonic and Jyväskylä Symphony Orchestra.

As assistant conductor he worked closely with a number of renowned conductors including Sir Andrew Davis, Vasily Petrenko, Eckehard Stier and Juanjo Mena.

After graduating in conducting from the prestigious Weimar Conservatoire in Germany (under the tutelage of Professor Gunter Kahlert), Harish Shankar also received mentorship from Sir Mark Elder, Paavo Järvi, Clark Rundell and Mark Heron with masterclasses from Nicolás Pasquet, Leonid Grin and Mark Stringer.  Early studies with Eiji Oue subsequently led to an invitation to lead the orchestra of the award-winning El Sistema project in Peru. During his tenure with El Sistema, he conducted a number of regular and cross-over projects with the aim to engage a growing classical music scene and to bring together children from all walks of life through music.  

A pianist by training, Mr Shankar took piano lessons from the age of six, continuing his studies before being accepted into the class of noted pianist Professor Konstanze Eickhorst at the Conservatoire of Lübeck.


June 2017