Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A big step up for...

...the brilliant young British-Australian conductor, Jessica Cottis, who has just been signed up for general management by Inverne Price. This is a Very Good Thing. Official info below.

If by their pedigree shall you judge a young conductor, Jessica Cottis is set to do great things. She has recently finished her tenure as Assistant Conductor at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, first to Vladimir Ashkenazy and then to David Robertson, and previously she has assisted Donald Runnicles at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas with the San Francisco Symphony. Before all of which, the Royal Academy of Music graduate was taught by Sir Colin Davis. In the light of such undoubted talent and musical intelligence, Inverne Price Music Consultancy is delighted to announce that they have signed Jessica Cottis for general management.

Hailed as a "fast-rising star" by Jessica Duchen in the UK's Classical Music Magazine, "one of the big hopes for change" by the Sydney Morning Herald and as one of The Independent's "next generation" of five conductors making their mark in Britain (a list that put Cottis in the company of Robin Ticciati and Daniel Harding), the Scottish-Australian maestra is racking up the impressive credits expected from conductors of her calibre. She has given high-profile performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony (where she returns later this month with soloist Sarah Chang), BBC Scottish Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, Bit20 Ensemble, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Scottish Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival and elsewhere. Yet amidst all of the Mozart and Beethoven and her beloved Richard Strauss, Cottis always looks to find time for her passion projects away from the well-trodden paths.

These include conducting an all female composers programme in Cardiff for International Women's Day and the Women Of The World Orchestra at London's Royal Festival Hall, founding London's Bloomsbury Opera, championing the music of her native Australia and bringing contemporary music into the spotlight. This last led to one of her career breakthroughs, the hugely successful premiere of James Dillon's Nine Rivers cycle with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Les Percussions de Strasbourg - an event that The Guardian called "unquestionably the most significant new-music event in Britain this year." In 2014, she conducted a new work by Peter Maxwell Davies  for the opening of the restored organ at London's Royal Festival Hall. Most recently, Cottis was appointed Principal Conductor of the new Scotland-based ensemble, the Glasgow New Music Expedition.

"I am obsessed with great music, whether new or old, symphonic or opera," she says, "and as much as anything, conducting the music of our own time guides us to discover anew the relevance, excitement and sense of adventure of the music of the past. So that Mozart and Berlioz and Wagner and the rest become again the music of the present."

Cottis's talent as a communicator has been welcomed by broadcasters. She has  appeared on various programs, including as conducting mentor to presenter Jenni Murray on a Radio "Woman's Hour" special (BBC Radio 4) and in a similar capacity to DJ Trevor Nelson in BBC Two Television's series "Maestro at the Opera". She has broadcast on the subjects of Brahms and of Verdi, both for Radio 4.

Ahead of her coming engagement at the Queensland Symphony - other forthcoming engagements include the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and a return to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra - she was asked to write a feature for Australia's Limelight magazine on today's "golden age" for Australian composers, which can be read here. And you can watch Cottis conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at her new YouTube channel.