Toby takes up the SSO baton

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has appointed 26-year-old Toby Thatcher as Assistant Conductor, a position that provides a vital link for emerging conductors who are transitioning from academic training to professional careers.


Toby takes up the SSO baton

Thatcher, who will return from London in June to take up the position in Sydney, was one of five hand-picked international and Australian candidates who auditioned for the role 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 gone on to establish a successful career both in Australia and internationally.

The position, supported by the SSO’s Premier Partner Credit Suisse and SSO donors Rachel and Geoffrey O’Conor, provides a vital link for emerging conductors who are transitioning from academic training to professional careers.

As David Robertson said, ‘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 be closely mentored by Robertson himself, as well as visiting guest conductors.

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,’ he said.

‘At the SSO we are very proud of our world-class education program, in which we nurture and develop emerging artistic talent.’

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.

He 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.