Award-winning conductor Jessica Cottis, named ‘2019 Classical “Face to Watch”’ (The Times, UK), is much in demand, working regularly with leading orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier, new music ensembles such as London Sinfonietta and Bang on a Can, as well as numerous re-invitations at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the prestigious BBC Proms. She has recorded for the BBC, ABC, and Decca Classics labels.
One of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today, 2023 marks Jessica Cottis’s third season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Under her leadership, the orchestra has already developed a number of important new initiatives, including significant commissions and championing of Australian works. Recognised for her engaging, wide-ranging and thought-provoking programming, Cottis’ domain is music of the 19th to 21st centuries. This season she will conduct major works by Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky in Canberra, and make highly anticipated debuts with orchestras including Bremer Philharmoniker, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Oslo Philharmonic, and Royal Danish Opera.
A gifted communicator, Jessica works widely as an advocate for classical music. Described as a “cool, contained, super-articulate and engaging” (The Scotsman), she is a frequent contributor on BBC radio and television, commenting on a wide range of arts-related topics, from opera to architecture, synaesthesia, the environment, and acoustics.
Jessica Cottis’ early musical career was as an organist. Awarded first class honours at the Australian National University, she continued her studies in Paris with pioneering French organist Marie-Claire Alain. After a wrist injury halted her playing career, she began conducting studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, studying with Colin Metters and Sir Colin Davis. She went on to serve as Assistant Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, where she worked closely with mentors Sir Donald Runnicles, Charles Dutoit, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. More recently she was honoured with the title of Associate of the Royal Academy.
Jessica Cottis resides in Stockholm and London, and outside of music pursues her passion for butterflies all over the world.