Jessica Cottis

Conductor

Biography

Hailed in the UK music press as “one to watch”, Jessica Cottis possesses intellectual rigour, innate musicality and an easy authority; she is a charismatic figure on the podium who brings dynamism, intensity and clarity of vision to all her performances.

Born in Australia and a dual British-Australian citizen, Jessica Cottis was awarded a first class honours degree in organ, piano and musicology from the Australian National University and continued her studies as an organist with Marie-Claire Alain in Paris, winning awards from the Royal Philharmonic Society and Royal College of Organists. A wrist injury subsequently halted her playing career and after reading Law, she began conducting studies in 2006, studying with Colin Metters and Sir Colin Davis on the postgraduate conducting course at the Royal Academy of Music. Cottis was awarded the Academy’s top conducting prizes upon graduation in July 2009, the same month she was appointed to her positions at the BBC SSO and RCS, and also Manson Fellow in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music.

Her international career was launched through close working relationships with mentors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Charles Dutoit, and Donald Runnicles. From 2009 to 2011 she was the first Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Assistant Conductor at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and from 2012 to 2014 Assistant Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra where she conducted over thirty concerts per year with the orchestra, being lauded in the Australian press as “one of the big hopes for change”.

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Reviews

“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

Bachtrack

More Reviews

“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