We're delighted to announce the appointment of two new Assistant Conductors. Building on a rich history of spotting and celebrating new talent and working with the world’s most exciting conductors, this scheme gives the conductors the opportunity to work closely with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra across the full range of its activity.
Rita Castro Blanco and Charlotte Corderoy begin their new roles with the CBSO in October and will be assigned to a range of projects over the 23/24 season, from Family Concerts to international tours, World Premiere performances, and everything in between. They will also benefit from meetings and workshops with CBSO musicians, management and stakeholders alongside an open invitation to attend all rehearsals and concerts.
Kazuki Yamada, Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor, says: "I am so thrilled that Rita and Charlotte will be joining our CBSO family and - like me - will have the incredible experience of learning and growing with the phenomenal musicians of this orchestra. From the audition process I can already see the passion, skill and joy they will bring to their roles as Assistant Conductors and I am really looking forward to working with them over the next 12 months."
The promising young conductors were appointed after an extensive and collaborative process involving Kazuki Yamada, CBSO musicians and management from an incredibly competitive field of applicants. Each brings valuable experience and fresh perspectives to the music the Orchestra is proud to make in Birmingham, across the West Midlands and beyond.
Previous Assistant Conductors of the CBSO include Michael Seal, Alpesh Chauhan, Jonathan Bloxham, Jaume Santonja Espinós, Bertie Baigent and Olivia Clarke.
Rita Castro Blanco is one of the most promising Portuguese conductors of her generation and has had debuts with Orquestra Gulbenkian, Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa, Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, Orquestra das Beiras, and Orquestra do Norte. From September 2019 to January 2022 she was Principal Conductor of the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra.
Furthermore, the young conductor has worked as Assistant Conductor to Nuno Coelho, Joana Carneiro and Clark Rundell. During her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, she also assisted at the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and Hallé, working with renowned conductors like Sir Mark Elder, Vasily Petrenko, Elim Chan, John Storgards, Joana Carneiro, Ed Gardner and Simone Young.
Rita graduated with Distinction from the Master in Music in Performance at the RNCM, under the guidance of Clark Rundell and Mark Heron, after completing the Bachelor Degree in Orchestral Conducting at Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra with Jean-Marc Burfin with exceptional marks.
Since the beginning of her formal studies, Castro Blanco has had the privilege to participate in international masterclasses with the Royal Opera House, London Sinfonietta, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Balthasar Neumann Ensemble. In the summers of 2022 and 2021 she was a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Festival, and the Lucerne Festival, and was part of the new Mentorship for Women Conductors at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Her latest engagements include concerts with Lucerne Contemporary Festival Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra and Real Filarmonia de Galícia.
Charlotte Corderoy is a London-based conductor and a recent graduate of The Royal Academy of Music, London (Orchestra Conducting, MA).
Alongside her work with the CBSO, the 2023/24 season will see Charlotte make her professional debuts at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Assistant Conductor, Don Giovanni), and alongside Barbara Hannigan with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra & Swedish Radio Choir (Assistant Conductor, The Rake's Progress - Equilibrium Young Artist).
Charlotte has recently made her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the City of London Sinfonia at Opera Holland Park. The past year has seen her collaborate with Barbara Hannigan for a new recording of Stravinsky’s chamber works (Linn Records, Spring 2024), and conduct British Youth Opera's most recent performance of Vaughan Williams’s The Pilgrim’s Progress at The Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester.
As of September 2022, Charlotte was appointed Musical Director of the Royal Academy of Music's inaugural Junior Musical Theatre Department. Further theatre credits include Musical Director for NYMT’s 2023 run of Porter’s Kiss Me Kate (Leicester Curve), Keys Dep for Strictly Ballroom the Musical UK Tour, and Rehearsal Pianist for Only Fool's and Horses The Musical, on London's West End.
Before moving to London, Charlotte worked at Charterhouse School in Surrey, as their Graduate Music Assistant and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Music, graduating with First Class Honours with an Organ Scholarship from Hertford College, University of Oxford.
The CBSO is grateful to The Perry Family Charitable Trust and Garrick Charitable Trust for supporting the Assistant Conductor Programme.