She enjoys a varied career as performer, combining orchestral and chamber work with many of the country's leading ensembles, and also as teacher, most recently at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the junior department of the Royal College of Music.
Shelly is committed to keeping the bassoon thriving through collaborating with contemporary composers (Anna Meredith's axeman for electric bassoon was written for her, and her husband, Tim Watts, wrote Crooked Junction for 23 bassoons for her pupils young and old), developing new syllabuses for the ABRSM, and coordinating projects with young and amateur performers (including youth and community orchestras, RCM Junior Sparks and at Dartington International Summer School).
Shelly studied at Wells Cathedral School, Cambridge University and finally as a postgraduate scholar at the Royal College of Music with Martin Gatt, supported by the Countess of Munster Trust and Musician’s Benevolent Fund. After graduating from the RCM with distinction and the Arthur Somervell bassoon prize in 2002, she spent a year as a member of the newly formed Southbank Sinfonia and subsequently took up a Junior Fellowship at the RCM. With assistance from the Felicity Belfield Musical Trust, Shelly plays on a 9000 series Heckel bassoon.
Life outside the Philharmonia is based in Norfolk with her husband and their lively young son.