After winning the premier prize at the Royal College of Music at the end of his first year, Howard Shelley's career began with a highly successful London recital and a televised Promenade concert with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas in the same season. Since then he has performed regularly throughout the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, North America, Russia, Australia, and the Far East. He has also made over seventy‐five highly acclaimed commercial recordings.
As pianist he has performed, broadcast and recorded around the world with leading orchestras and conductors including Ashkenazy, Boulez, Boult, Davis, Jansons, Rozhdestvensky and Sanderling. In a unique series of five London recitals, broadcast by the BBC, he played Rachmaninov's complete solo piano music. He has given complete cycles of Rachmaninov concertos with the Royal Scottish National, Beethoven concertos with the BBC Philharmonic and Mozart concerto series with the London Mozart Players, Camerata Salzburg and Munich Symphony.
As conductor he has performed with the London Philharmonic, London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, the Philharmonia, Royal Scottish National and Ulster orchestras as well as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico, Munich Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Symphony Orchestra, amongst many others.