R. Douglas Sheldon, one of the best known and most respected artist managers in the international field of classical music, served Columbia Artists for more than five decades managing some of the world's preeminent artists and ensembles, and known especially for his work with symphony orchestras.
Now about to form his own consulting company in the classical music field, he has nevertheless left a legacy of service to numerous classical ensembles and artists around the world.
The New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, [Kirov] Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Budapest Festival Orchestra, China Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and Vienna Symphony are a few of the orchestras he represents in a long list that has also included the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Oslo Philharmonic, and the Cleveland, Minnesota and Saint Louis Orchestras.
He has represented conductors Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Juanjo Mena, Jaap van Zweden, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Thierry Fischer, Carlos Miguel Prieto and Vladimir Spivakov and has worked closely on touring projects with Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Daniele Gatti and Dennis Russell Davies.
He has represented Anne-Sophie Mutter since 1986, and has managed Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Nelson Friere, Eric Lu and Khatia Buniatishvili as well as some of the greatest opera singers of the 20th century, including Teresa Berganza, Grace Bumbry, Barbara Hendricks, Justino Diaz, and Marilyn Horne
Active in chamber music, he represented the Beaux Arts Trio, which retired from the stage in 2008 after 53 seasons, has arranged chamber music tours for pianist Martha Argerich, the Mutter-Previn-Harrell piano trio, and the Mutter-Bashmet-Harrell string trio.
Always interested in young artists, he introduced pianists Eric Lu (Leeds International Competition Gold Medalists 2018) and Yundi Li (the 2000 Chopin Competition Gold Medallist) to the United States and oversaw the development of Olga Kern, the 2001 Cliburn Competition Gold Medallist; Denis Matsuev, the 1998 Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medallist; Alexei Volodin, the 2003 Geza Anda Competition Gold Medallist and one of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation young artists, Roman Patkaló.
Mr Sheldon has served as President of the Sarasate International Violin Competition (2015), as Grand Chair of the Orchestre Syphonique de Montreal Violin and Organ Competitions (2016) and as juror for the Olga Kern International Piano Competitions (2016 & 2019), Concours Musicale= International de Montreal, piano (2017), Malta International Piano Competition (2018), International Advisor, First Beijing International Music Competition (2019) and juror for Sydney International Piano Competition (2020) and Shanghai Isaac Stern Centennial Violin Competition (2020).
Mr. Sheldon joined Columbia Artists in 1966 and has served in many capacities in addition to his responsibilities as Executive Vice President and Managing Director, and most recently Chairman, from which position he resigned April 1, 2019.
Mr. Sheldon, class of 1959, was an honor student at Sidney Central School (Sidney, New York) and was the record-setting Achievement Award winner in both his junior and senior years. He participated in football, basketball, baseball and track plus band, choir and the newspaper. He was a Student Council Officer and one of the first American Exchange Students abroad (American Field Service). While in elementary school he began as song leader in the First Baptist Church in Sidney and while in high school he led the band as student leader.
He graduated from Hamilton College (Clinton, New York) in 1963 with honors having participated in track and in intramural sports, having written for the college newspaper and having served as manager, soloist and the college's only student conductor of the well-known Hamilton College Choir. He was an officer in Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and led that fraternity to win the Inter Fraternity Sing silver cup three consecutive years.
He attended Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) for graduate work, where he was Conductor of the Brown Freshmen Glee Club and Assistant Conductor and soloist of the Brown University & Pembroke College Glee Clubs before returning to Hamilton College as Visiting Instructor, to lead the Hamilton College Choir in seven different programs including the Bach B minor Mass with the Paris Chamber Orchestra and preparation of the Poulenc Gloria for the Syracuse Symphony. On tour he and the choir appeared on Educational Television in Buffalo, New York and sang in St. Thomas Cathedral, New York, the Huntington Hartford Museum in New York, the Smith College Chapel and venues in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit.
R. Douglas Sheldon was born July 19, 1941 in Cold Spring on the Hudson, New York. His parents, Ray D. and Emma Belle were both public school teachers who dedicated their lives to education, school activities, volunteer work for church, school, hospital, children's health, conservation and the Audubon Society. The family with siblings Stuart Burke and Christina Rae moved to Sidney, N.Y. in 1945 where they established a family home until the passing of Ray in 2002 and Emma Belle in 2007.
Doug Sheldon while in high school participated in all sports and all musical and student organizations and spent summers as a lifeguard at LeTourneau Camp on Canandaigua Lake in upstate New York. During his collegiate years at Hamilton College he spent summers as Director of the Sidney Municipal Swimming teaching all nine swim strokes and Junior and Senior Lifesaving, all courses required for qualification as a Water Safety Instructor. While in graduate school at Brown University his summers were spent working on assembly lines for Dupont Chemical in Perth Amboy, N.J. and Allen Industries in Rahway, New Jersey.
Mr. Sheldon married Eileen Yencik in 1963 and had three children: R. Douglas Jr., Kirsten Aline, and Alexandra McQueen. Grandchildren respectively are Ian Douglas and Emma Grace; Jason Robert Savarese; and Nicholas Patrick and Emily Rae. He joined Columbia Artists Management in 1966 where he served as director, manager, department head of publicity, transportation, and budget, and Executive Vice President and Chairman.
In 1965-66 he worked for the Rochester Philharmonic (Rochester, New York) in general administration, scheduling, touring, advertising, program preparation, artists negotiation and repertoire before beginning his career in New York City at Columbia Artists Management LLC. During the last part of his stay in Rochester, he was also conductor of the Park Avenue Baptist Church.