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Kenneth Woods

Surrey Mozart Players Music Director
Kenneth Woods picture  

Hailed by Gramophone as a “symphonic conductor of stature,” conductor, cellist, composer and author Kenneth Woods has worked with many orchestras of international distinction the National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra and State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra.

He has also appeared on the stages of some of the world’s leading music festivals such as Aspen, Scotia and Lucerne. His work on the concert platform and in the recording studio has led to numerous broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, National Public Radio, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2013, he took up a new position as Artistic Director and conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, succeeding Vernon Handley .

Kenneth Woods was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Stratford-upon-Avon based Orchestra of the Swan in 2010. He and the orchestra have recorded the first complete cycle of the symphonies of Austrian composer Hans Gál, paired with those of Robert Schumann for Avie Records. This series has been among the most widely praised classical recording projects in recent years, highlighted in National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Performance Today, BBC Radio3, the Sunday New York Times, the Sunday Telegraph, Washington Post and was an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. Among his other recordings are Schoenberg’s chamber ensemble versions of Das Lied von der Erde and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (for Somm) by Gustav Mahler, which won the coveted IRR Outstanding rosette from International Record Review, and Spring Sounds, Spring Seas (for MSR), a MusicWeb ‘Record of the Year’. CD releases in 2014 include a disc of new trumpet concerti for Signum, orchestral music of Philip Sawyers for Nimbus, music of Brahms and Schoenberg for Somm and a disc of new works for violin, cello and narrator for Avie. This October, Avie Records release string trios by Schnittke, Penderecki, Kurtág and Weinberg with Ken in the role of cellist with Ensemble Epomeo, and Signum released a disc of contemporary trumpet concerti by John McCabe, Robert Saxton and Deborah Pritchard with up-and-coming trumpet virtuoso, Simon Desbruslais accompanied by Ken and the Orchestra of the Swan.

In addition to a vast orchestral repertoire spanning from the Classical masters to the present day, Woods has conducted critically praised productions of operas from Puccini to Britten, and ballet scores as diverse as Giselle, the Nutcracker and Firebird. Woods’ work as an active proponent of contemporary music includes collaborations with such composers as John McCabe, John Corigliano, Philip Sawyers, Jennifer Higdon and Peter Lieberson. In June 2010, he was invited by the Stradivari Trust to conduct their 25th anniversary concert, featuring a string orchestra of many of the world’s leading soloists and chamber musicians including Natalie Clein, Lawrence Power, Guy Johnston, Matthew Trussler and the Endellion and Fitzwilliam String Quartets.

As a cello soloist and chamber musician, Woods’ collaborators have included members of the Toronto, Chicago and Cincinnati symphonies, the Minnesota, Gewandhaus and Concertgebouw orchestras and the La Salle, Pro Arte, Tokyo and Audubon quartets. He is currently cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo, with whom he performs regularly in the UK, Europe and the USA.

A widely read writer and frequent broadcaster, Woods’ blog, A View from the Podium, is one of the 25 most popular classical blogs in the world. He has spoken on Mahler on NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and gave a broadcast lecture on Mahler for the 2013 BBC Proms

     
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