The Sydney Symphony has appointed Jessica Cottis as its new assistant conductor for a period of two years, succeeding Nicholas Carter. The 35-year-old British-Australian, who featured in Gramophone’s June 2011 feature on the leading conductors of tomorrow, will work closely with principal conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, acting as cover during the orchestra’s forthcoming China Tour in October 2012. She will also conduct several Sydney Symphony schools concerts in 2012, and in 2013 will conduct the orchestra in its ‘Mozart in the City’ concerts.
According to director of artistic planning Peter Czornyj, Cottis was the standout candidate at auditions for the role earlier this year. ‘The assistant conductor position allows for the Sydney Symphony to ensure that exceptionally talented young conductors receive exposure to great conductors and have the training and experience they need to develop successful careers,’ he said.
Cottis recently completed a two-year appointment as assistant conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, working with chief conductor Donald Runnicles, and also completed a Fellowship in Conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
‘I look forward to working closely with the orchestra over the next two years and am particularly excited to work with principal conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and also with newly commissioned Australian composers,’ she said. ‘This position will offer me a wonderful opportunity to develop my conducting career and I am looking forward to it immensely.’