The Music Room

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The first of Zoë Beyers' conversations in The Music Room is with American conductor, composer, writer and cellist Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra.

kenneth woods

Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “a symphonic conductor of stature”, Kenneth Woods has quickly built up an impressive and acclaimed body of work with the orchestra and was also recently appointed Artistic Director of both the Colorado MahlerFest – the only US organisation other than the New York Philharmonic to receive the International Gustav Mahler Society’s Gold Medal – and the Elgar Festival in Worcester.

As a guest, Woods has conducted ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and the English Chamber Orchestra, and has made numerous broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has appeared on the stages of some of the world’s leading music festivals, such as Aspen, Scotia and Lucerne.

Under Kenneth Woods’ leadership, the English Symphony Orchestra has gained widespread recognition as one of the most innovative and influential orchestras in the UK. They received Classical Music Magazine’s “Premiere of the Year” plaudit for both Donald Fraser’s orchestration of the Elgar Piano Quintet in 2015 and John Joubert’s opera Jane Eyre in 2016. Jane Eyre also marked the ESO’s first foray into opera, and the premiere and subsequent Somm Recordings CD were both received with international critical acclaim including a string of five-star reviews, Disc of the Month and MusicWeb Opera Recording of the Year nods, and was named the Birmingham Post’s “classical music highlight of 2016.”

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 is a regular speaker on BBC radio programmes. Since 2014, he has been Honorary Patron of the Hans Gál Society.

The conversation – to be broadcast on YouTube or on Vimeo from 19:30 to 20:30 on Friday, 19th June – will be followed immediately by a Zoom Q&A session hosted by Kenneth Woods. If you would like to take part, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the meeting invitation.

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