Recent Sydney Con PhD graduate to head Interlochen orchestra

Recent Sydney Con PhD graduate to head Interlochen orchestra

2 August 2013


Distinguished conductor and recent Sydney Conservatorium of Music PhD graduate, Dr Carolyn Watson, will soon take up the position of Orchestra Director at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, USA, after an extensive international search and intense series of interviews and orchestral auditions.


Carolyn Watson

Dr Carolyn Watson


The 90-member Academy orchestra is considered by many to be America’s finest high school orchestra, performing at a level equal to and above many conservatory, university or regional symphonies. Many Interlochen graduates go on to tertiary study at high-profile institutions including The Julliard School, Eastman School of Music and Curtis Institute of Music.

Carolyn holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where the subject of her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiber.

She has held conducting positions with the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, and has worked with many of the world’s major orchestras, including Hannover State Orchestra, Budapest Operetta Theatre, Berlin Staatsoper, and Sydney Symphony. She has served as assistant to Marin Alsop, and Sir Charles Mackerras.

A Churchill Fellow, Carolyn is the recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize awarded via the Australian Music Foundation in London, Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and the Nelly Apt Conducting Scholarship.

Featured in a national conductor preview with the Sydney Symphony, Carolyn in 2011, was also Assistant Conductor for the inaugural Australian World Orchestra concert season in Sydney working with Simone Young. During 2011 she was Associate Conductor of the Tasmania Discovery Orchestra and Assistant Chorus Master of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

“I am confident that Dr. Watson’s experience and musicality in leading the IAA Orchestra will continue to enhance the reputation of the orchestra as the finest high school ensemble of its type in the world” said Dr Kedrik Merwin, Director of Music at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Dr Karl Kramer, Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium, congratulated Dr Watson on her appointment, adding “the Sydney Conservatorium of Music thanks Dr Watson for her invaluable contribution to the Conservatorium’s orchestral program and wishes her every success in her new position.” 

More information

Office of the Dean and Principal
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
T +61 2 9351 1255

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