Conductor Jessica Cottis shares her top essential works of modern Australian music.

Conductors, as they travel so much, are often considered citizens of the world. To an extent this is true, and as the daughter of Australian diplomats who were posted abroad every few years, in many ways it is for me. But Australia has affected me deeply. I was born there, and the vast open skies, the grey-greens of the trees, the gold of the dry grass, that landscape, the air, the weather, have all stayed with me, wherever in the world I may be. Now, coming back to Australia to conduct the wonderful Queensland Symphony Orchestra, all this is much on my mind.

Australian classical music, steadily gaining pace since the 1950’s, has developed greatly in recent generations and so have Australians’ awareness of it – both the music being written today and from those who went before. Peter Sculthorpe, for instance, has become a widely known name, and not only among musicians and intellectuals. I’m conscious we need to do even more to support the development of Australian classical music, but already this increasing interest is very exciting.

I’ve noticed that orchestras worldwide are increasingly interested in Australian music...

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