Jessica Cottis



A charismatic and erudite figure on the podium, conductor Jessica Cottis has earned critical acclaim for her intellect, natural authority, and profound musicality. She brings dynamism, intensity and clarity of vision to all her performances.

Named ‘2019 Classical “Face to Watch”’ (The Times UK), she is much in demand on the concert circuit, working regularly with leading orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonia Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as well as numerous re-invitations annually to the prestigious BBC Proms.

One of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today, the 20/21 season will mark Jessica’s new role in leading the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s artistic team, as Artistic Advisor. Recognised for her engaging, wide-ranging and thought-provoking/enlightened programming, her domain is music of the 19th to 21st centuries. This season she will conduct major works by Mahler, Stravinsky and Kurt Weill in Canberra, and make highly anticipated debuts with orchestras including Bremer Philharmoniker, Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier, Orchestre National Bordeaux, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and at Opera Holland Park where she will conduct Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’. Jessica maintains a strong commitment to new music, most recently — along with composer Matthew Hindson AM — co-curating the Canberra Symphony’s Australian Miniseries, a significant new commissioning series of works by Australian composers including Liza Lim, Deborah Cheetham, and Ross Edwards.

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“Cottis led a select subset of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in considerable style, her every gesture sparking with energy. Conducting sans baton, her highly watchable physicality on the podium drew some finely crafted results, whether intent on unravelling Bach’s complex textures or conjuring some high-voltage playing and singing with an almost palpable strength of will.”

Clive Paget

Limelight Magazine

“…the performances themselves were a triumph, Jessica Cottis and the BBC Concert Orchestra tripping chameleon-like through a programme of musical costume-changes that would have had Mr Benn on his knees. Their pièce de résistance was the jump from the Tree Fu Tom’s frothy Big World Red Magic spell to a showstoppingly controlled and majestic Also sprach Zarathustra. Cottis dived in with equal aplomb to the interaction-with-the-presenters aspect of her job description, displaying a naturalness and confidence worlds away from the usual duck-out-of-water awkwardness we’ve come to brace ourselves for from conductors at such events.”

Charlotte Gardner


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“Under the baton of charismatic conductor Jessica Cottis, the orchestra launched into a lively rendition of Anthony Ritchie’s brief, lyrical Albatross in Flight. […] The concert’s second half was dominated by Bruckner’s massive Symphony no. 4 in E-flat major – at 70 minutes in length. The time passed unnoticed, as Bruckner’s masterpiece unfolded under Cottis’ expert hand, transporting the listener from medieval hunting calls in dappled glades to glittering dance. “

Brenda Harwood, The Dunedin Star