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Jessica Cottis

Biography – about the artist.

Conductor Jessica Cottis has earned widespread recognition for her inventive, thought-provoking programming and inspiring musical leadership. A gifted communicator described as “cool, contained, super-articulate and engaging” (The Scotsman), she is one of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today, in high demand from orchestras around the world.

Cottis’ recent highlights include engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Danish Opera, Oslo Philharmonic, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra Dublin, Orchestre National de Bordeaux, as well as numerous re-invitations to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the prestigious BBC Proms. She has recorded for the BBC, ABC, and Decca Classics labels.

During the 2023-2024 season Jessica Cottis makes highly anticipated debuts with orchestras including Opera Australia (La Traviata), Luxembourg Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and in Milan with Orchestra i Pomeriggi Musicali, and looks forward to continuing collaborations with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, Romanian Radio Symphony, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Aldeburgh Festival.

From September 2023 Jessica Cottis takes the role of Artistic Partner of the Västerås Sinfonietta in Sweden, and continues her third season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Under her visionary leadership, the CSO has pioneered several important and award-winning initiatives, including a significant commissioning output, collaborations with indigenous creators and championing Australian composers.

Jessica Cottis' domain is music of the 19th to 21st centuries. This season she will conduct major works by Berg, Brahms, Mahler, Beethoven, Sibelius, Elgar, R. Strauss, Mendelssohn, and Janáček. Her performances of the great Romantic repertoire have consistently received high praise: “with absolutely the right temperament for Brahms and a fine conducting technique, Jessica Cottis took care of every note. With authority and the clarity of sunlight, she lifted the orchestra to immense heights” (Västerbottens-Kuriren). Widely admired for her deep musical curiosity and affinity for new music, Cottis most recently conducted critically acclaimed productions of Poul Ruder’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ for Royal Danish Opera and John Adams’ ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ for Norrlandsoperan, and acted as Music Director for Laura Bowler’s new work ‘The Blue Woman’ at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Jessica Cottis grew up on her family’s sheep farm in south-eastern Australia and quickly developed a lifelong interest in both music and the natural world. She is especially interested in the relation between music, nature and science, and the act of listening. She works widely as an advocate for classical music, and has given masterclasses for the Royal Philharmonic Society and Royal Academy of Music, and led courses for emerging women conductors for the Royal Opera House. She sits on the Board of new music organisation and record label Nonclassical, and is Chair of the Music Board of the Tait Memorial Trust for Young Australians: an organisation supporting young Australian and New Zealand performing artists studying in the UK. She is also a frequent contributor on BBC radio and television, where she comments on a wide range of arts-related topics, from opera to architecture, synaesthesia, and acoustics.

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. Hailed as the “2019 Classical Face to Watch” (The Times), Cottis was more recently honoured with the title of Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the School of Music, Australian National University.

Jessica Cottis resides in London and Stockholm, and outside of music pursues her passion for butterflies all over the world.

SEASON 2023/24

The next dates:


Teatro dal Verme



Teatro dal Verme



Canberra Symphony Orchestra


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Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

Praha 2

> more about the promoter

Your contact persons:

Naomi Ives



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„The Royal Danish Orchestra plays excellently under the direction of Jessica Cottis. Firstly, the balance between singers and the orchestra is finely tuned. Secondly, the many transitions between strongly contrasting sections are compellingly handled: there are both violently affecting fortissimo sections that blew you away, and breathlessly delicate sections with strings in pianissimo, whilst the hollowness of the large ceremonial tableaus is goosebump-inducing – No wonder the composer looked happy when he came on stage to applause.“

Lars Ole Bonde, Operamagasinet Ascolta, 01.11.2022

„In Umeå, Australian Jessica Cottis is conductor for Macbeth - one of the best musical performances in the house's history.“

Camilla Lundberg Nyheter Kultur, 29.09.2021