Toby Thatcher is the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s newly appointed Assistant Conductor. The 26 year-old was chosen from a field of five candidates and succeeds Jessica Cottis, who held the position since 2012. Thatcher studied oboe and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and at 19 was selected to participate in Symphony Australia’s Young Conductor Development Program.
With the recent appointment of 29 year-old Nicholas Carter, a graduate of the same program, as principal conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the news gives further hope to young musicians in this country hoping to make a career in conducting. And it serves as a reminder that Richard Tognetti at the even tenderer age of 25 was made lead violinist of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and soon thereafter its artistic director – but that was way back in 1989.
Thatcher currently lives in London where he is studying towards a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music under Christopher Cowie (Philharmonia Orchestra’s principal oboe). Thatcher is also principal cor anglais with the London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a prize-winner in the Georg Solti International Conducting Competition, and has conducted the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.