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Australian-British conductor Jessica Cottis has been appointed assistant conductor of the Sydney Symphony. She comes to the position after two years as assistant conductor of another SSO – the Scottish Symphony Orchestra – and will take over from Australian conductor Nicholas Carter, who started as assistant conductor with the Orchestra in 2009 and has now gone on to forge an international career.
The assistant conductor position is a two-year appointment which will see Cottis work closely with, and be mentored by, Sydney Symphony's chief Vladimir Ashkenazy in addition to other visiting guest conductors. She will also assist and act as cover conductor for Vladimir Ashkenazy on the orchestra’s forthcoming China Tour in October 2012.
In 2012, Cottis will conduct a number of Sydney Symphony schools concerts and, in 2013, will conduct the orchestra in its Mozart in the City concerts at City Recital Hall Angel Place, as well as in NSW regional touring concerts.
According to Sydney Symphony’ director of artistic planning, Peter Czornyj, Cottis was a stand-out candidate when auditions took place earlier this year.
“Jessica greatly impressed us with her thorough preparation and clear conducting technique, displaying a range of gestures and inspirational authority,” said Czornyj.
Of the appointment, Cottis said: “I am thrilled to accept the post of Sydney Symphony Assistant Conductor. I have incredibly formative memories of hearing the orchestra in my teens. After over a decade abroad, I’m delighted and honoured to come back home to work with these wonderful musicians.
“I look forward to working closely with the orchestra over the next two years and am particularly excited to work with Vladimir Ashkenazy and also with newly commissioned Australian composers. This position will offer me a wonderful opportunity to develop my conducting career and I am looking forward to it immensely."