Sydney Symphony Orchestra announces 26-year-old Australian Toby Thatcher as new Assistant Conductor

Featured imageThe Sydney Symphony Orchestra is delighted to announce the appointment of 26-year-old Toby Thatcher to the highly coveted position of SSO Assistant Conductor.

Thatcher, who will return from London to take up the position in Sydney, was one of five hand-picked international and Australian candidates who auditioned for the role with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra before a panel including the SSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson.

Thatcher will take the baton from Australian-British conductor Jessica Cottis, who has held the Assistant Conductor position since 2012, and has since gone on to establish a successful career both in Australia and internationally.

The Assistant Conductor position, supported by the Orchestra’s Premier Partner Credit Suisse and SSO donors Rachel and Geoffrey O’Conor, will see Thatcher mentored closely by Maestro Robertson, as well as the Orchestra’s visiting guest conductors.

This highly competitive position with Australia’s flagship orchestra provides a vital link for emerging conductors who are transitioning from academic training to forge professional careers.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson said Thatcher was an outstanding candidate who would excel as the SSO’s Assistant Conductor.

“Toby showed us he is ready to embark on the next stage of his career, displaying excellent conducting technique, authority and musicality in what can only be described as a highly impressive audition out of a particularly strong field of candidates,” Mr Robertson said.

“At the SSO we are very proud of our world-class education program, in which we nurture and develop emerging artistic talent. This Assistant Conductor position has been established to ensure that the next generation of conductors have the mentoring, training and experience to develop successful and fulfilling careers in their field.”

Thatcher will return home to Sydney from London, where he has been based for the past two years, to take up the position with the SSO.

“My first reaction to learning I had been selected as the SSO’s Assistant Conductor was one of utter shock and delight. I have grown up watching SSO concerts and rehearsals, and to now have the opportunity to work with the Orchestra first-hand is truly thrilling.”

“I’m looking forward to working with David Robertson, who is a prominent figure in today’s music world and known for not only his audacious programming, but his wit and intelligence. I can’t wait to get started!”

Thatcher grew up in Sydney and studied oboe and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, before moving to London to complete his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music. During this time, he was selected to participate in conducting masterclasses with internationally-renowned pedagogues including Johannes Schlaefli, Leonid Grin and Nicolas Pasquet.

Thatcher has conducted the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, and was recently shortlisted for the Assistant Conductor position with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He was selected to participate in the Symphony Australia Young Conductor Awards at just 19 years old. He then went on to become a prize-winner in the Georg Solti International Conducting Competition and was short-listed in the Malko International Conducting Competition.

Toby has performed as Principal Cor Anglais with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and as Oboist with the London Sinfonietta at the Royal Festival Hall.