This month, Jessica Cottis will lead the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in an opera gala honouring the late Richard Gill, who was inaugural Artistic Director and Chief Conductor from 2001 until 2005. On hand to perform favourites by Mozart, Bizet, Puccini and more in celebration of his life are soprano Jacqueline Porter and bass-baritone Jeremy Kleeman. Cottis speaks to Limelightabout what Gill meant to her, the journey audiences will take, and what makes the CSO unique.  

Jessica Cottis. Photo © Kaupo Kikkas

What did Richard Gill mean to you, and how do you hope to honour his memory with this concert?

I met and worked with Richard Gill a number of times when I worked as assistant conductor at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, back in 2012-2014. He left a big impression on me and shaped my development as a young conductor: his insatiable intellectual curiosity, his extraordinary musicianship, and his tireless advocacy for music education. I hope this concert honours all these aspects, but most especially his irresistible enthusiasm for communicating a love for and appreciation of classical music.

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