The Centre for Music Performance (CMP) is pleased to announce that, following this year’s University Conducting Competition, four student Conducting Scholars have been appointed for the 2024-25 academic year.

Jao-Yong Tsai, a first-year music undergraduate at Selwyn College, has been appointed as Assistant Conductor of the Cambridge University Orchestra (CUO), in which capacity he will assist distinguished professional conductors visiting the University.

Clare College music undergraduates Isaac Chan and Ed Gertler have been appointed as Co-Conductors of the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra (CUSO). Isaac Chan has also been appointed as Conductor of the Cambridge University Wind Orchestra (CUWO), and first-year Sidney Sussex College music undergraduate Jane Hammond has been appointed as Assistant Conductor of the Wind Orchestra.

The Conducting Competition attracted almost 20 applicants. Finalists were put through their paces through a live audition with the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra as well aural tests and an interview with the judging panel, which was chaired by distinguished conductor Sian Edwards and also included veteran music agent Jonathan Groves (Managing Director of Groves Artists) and representatives from CUWO, CUSO and the CMP.

Sian Edwards, Centre for Music Performance Artistic Advisor and chair of the judging panel, commented: “My fellow judges and I were very impressed by the standard of the finalists in this year’s competition. We offer our congratulations to Jao-Young, Isaac, Ed and Jane on their well-deserved appointments for the 2024-25 academic year – we will be following your progress with great interest.”

The four conductors follow in the footsteps of world-leading professional conductors who held similar roles while studying at Cambridge including Nicholas Collon, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Edward Gardner and Robin Ticciati. More recent student conductors have included:

  • Bertie Baigent (recent Assistant Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and winner of the 2022 Rotterdam Conducting Competition)
  • Stephanie Childress (now Principal Guest Conductor of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra)
  • Ben Glassberg (now Music Director of the Vienna Volksoper and Opéra de Rouen Normandie)
  • Adam Hickox (now Principal Conductor of the Glyndebourne Sinfonia)
  • Tess Jackson (now Associate Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
  • Harry Ogg (now Kapellmeister at Deutsche Oper am Rhein)
  • Joel Sandelson (winner of the 2021 Herbert von Karajan Young Conductor’s Award at the Salzburg Festival)
  • Naomi Woo (now Artistic Partner, Orchestre Métropolitain Montréal).