Winner of the 2015 American Prize in Orchestral Performance and Runner-up for The American Prize in Conducting, Australian conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-2015 Carolyn held the position of Conductor of the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra and from 2011-2013 she was the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at the Conservatorium High School in Sydney, Australia. Since moving to the US in 2013, Carolyn has been engaged as a conductor by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra.
A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival and School where she studied with David Zinman, Carolyn was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. With Opera Foundation Australia’s 2012 Berlin New Music Opera Award Carolyn was Musical Assistant at the Staatsoper Berlin for Infektion!, a festival of modern theatre celebrating the works of John Cage. In 2016 Carolyn has been selected to participate in the elite Dallas Opera Institute for Women Conductors.
Carolyn is the recipient of a number of prestigious national and international awards for young conductors. She is the recipient of the 2013 Brian Stacey Award for emerging Australian conductors and was awarded the coveted Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize via the Australian Music Foundation in London. In 2013-14 Carolyn held a Dome Centenary Fellowship from the State Library of Victoria and was in 2012 a Churchill Fellow. Carolyn has also been awarded Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award and the Nelly Apt Conducting Scholarship. She is the beneficiary of support from the American Australian Association’s Dame Joan Sutherland Fund and a Sheila Pryor Study Grant from the Australian Opera Auditions Committee.
The 2015-16 season saw Carolyn return to Europe to conduct the Kodály Filharmónia in Hungary. In 2010 she successfully debuted with the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and was one of four conductors selected for Interaktion with musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, also working with Sir Charles Mackerras on his final two productions in this year. In 2009, Carolyn spent a period at the Israeli National Opera, where she assisted on a production of Carmen.
Carolyn has been an active participant in master classes with Peter Eötvös, Yoel Levi and Alex Polishchuk. In 2008 Carolyn conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra during the Orkney Conducting Course before returning home to conduct the World Youth Day Orchestra on the occasion of the Pope’s arrival in Australia.
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.
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.