Critical Praise

“The true stars of the evening followed intermission. Kenneth Woods was
confident on the podium, clear and economical in his gestures and knew when
to actively lead and when to allow his players freedom to phrase. He delivered
a Strauss “Till Eulenspiegel” brimming with personality, affection and freshly
imagined drama. Every moment was alive and engaging, and the riotous
complexity of the score was rendered with admirable coherence.” An “up-and-
coming conductor”
The Washington Post, July 2 2001

Kenneth Woods was conductor of the fine musicians comprising the BBC
National Orchestra of Wales. Solo woodwind fragments against bell-like high
strings set the scene, depth of orchestral sound quality and refined brass pre-
eminent as the performance progressed. These attributes were also evident in
Kodaly’s Hungarian Dances of Galanta alongside subtle integral changes of
tempi and tonality, and solo clarinet episodes. In Copland’s Appalachian
Spring, idiomatic of the vast expanses of Pennsylvania, sparsely spaced
strings gradually developed into a rich combination of exciting harmonies ….
Patricia Rozario was the splendid soprano soloist in Canteloube’s Chants
d’Auvergne. These French songs were sung with immense beauty and given
sensitive accompaniments. ”
Malvern Gazette, Ledbury Reader,, July 2 2004

“American conductor Kenneth Woods certainly knows his way around the
orchestra, in terms of cueing, balance and structure, as was evident
throughout the culminating performance of Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony…  a full-
bodied, rich performance of a high standard…  ”
The Herald, Glasgow, December 4, 2006

“American rock and classical musician Kenneth Woods seemed a born
conductor in his recent city debut. His second appearance with the
Nottingham Philharmonic underlined that impression with performances
combining excitement and integrity.”
Peter Palmer, Nottingham Evening Post, March 12, 2007

“Conductor Kenneth Woods had the toughest draw. Stravinsky’s mercurial
“Danses Concertantes” rides on small strokes from individuals in this
reduced chamber orchestra… but the piece took on the playful brilliance of
this underplayed gem.”
The Austin American Statesman, Wednesday June 23, 1999

In the Shostakovich, each instrument enters pianissimo, trembling like a new
crack on a frozen pond. The intensity builds by wonderful increments,
marching to terrible peaks of passion before falling again under a growing
weight of discordant tones… a sensitive and impassioned performance … with
Kenneth Woods”
Durango Herald, July 4, 2006

“At 38, Woods looks like a younger, dark-haired William Hurt…he and
Pendleton’s unlikely symphony orchestra give Mahler the ride of his life”
David Stabler, The Oregonian, Sunday, May 27, 2007

“The Nottingham Philharmonic have long been an orchestra to be reckoned
with, but on Saturday there were signs that American guest conductor
Kenneth Woods could give a new dimension to their playing.  His combination
of vital detail with the broad view was impressive. Sibelius’s masterpiece got a
worthy performance. A concert to stir and delight.”  
Nottingham Evening Post, October 29, 2006

“Scotia Festival’s young artists sank their teeth into Arnold Schoenberg’s First
Chamber Symphony and bit hard. Conductor Ken Woods from the Cincinnati
Conservatory marshaled the forces with admirable consistency, securely
initiating tempos, shaping the endless flow of melody and instrumental
acrobatics and balancing the embarrassment of musical riches to clarify the
main line. A brilliant job… played with the kind of ardency that goes with a
passionate commitment to a great work.”
The Halifax Mail-Star, June 7, 1997

“Conductor Kenneth Woods was alert, efficient and confident, and stayed with
the singers unflaggingly. The 13-piece orchestra created a sense of
atmosphere between scene changes and punctuated the text colorfully.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer, February 17, 1997 (CCM Opera Theatre’s award-winning
production of Britten’s Albert Herring).

“A very fine… deeply felt, performance of Beethoven’s powerful Leonore
Overture No. 3…The orchestra, too, responded splendidly to this demanding
score, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto no. 2…with a formidable technique, and … a
luscious, surging tone…The concert ended with a superb performance of
Schumann’s Symphony no. 3— Its success was helped enormously by
Kenneth Woods…an enthusiastic capacity audience  ”
Surrey Advertiser, May 1, 2006

“Mahler’s Second Symphony was a total triumph of sound and music…
intimate, moving and intense. The concert of concerts…. Woods casts a spell
over the audience.”
The East Oregonian, April 25, 2006

“Conducted by Kenneth Woods, Carmen inspires performers and audience.. .
Bizet’s opera shows depth, range of the OES!”
The East Oregonian, April 29th 2004

“Dvorak‘s Symphony No.6 is a Woods favorite, and he promised in his
introduction that its joy and radiance would come through. It did. The
musicians performed all four movements with such energy they must have
been exhausted by the final note…  People were on their feet to show their
appreciation. The Rachmaninoff piano concerto (no. 3) brought international
prize-winner William Wolfram to the stage, and with the orchestra keeping
perfect pace, the sound couldn’t have been richer with the New York
Philharmonic. There was another standing ovation and everyone on stage
deserved it.”
The East Oregonian, October 7, 2003

“Tchaikovsky, the Oregon East Symphony, Kenneth Woods and guest pianist
Dickran Atamian: WOW!”
The East Oregonian, February 25, 2003

“A glorious concert…. Conductor Kenneth Woods opened with a lively
performance of Dvorak’s Czech Suite. Here the dance rhythms received an
authentic Czech flavour…. Dance rhythms also predominated in  Beethoven’s
Symphony No. 7, full of vitality and energy, but with enough pathos reserved to
make the ‘slow’ movement utterly convincing.. a tour de force of virtuosity!
Brilliant and incomparable…”
Surrey Advertiser, April 7, 2006

“Woods’ mastery of the material was evident in his command of the orchestra.
Both works were conducted in a way that inspired each member of the
orchestra to perform at his or her best. Both works were played to perfection.
The string playing was particularly lush, complimenting the clean precision of
the winds, brass and percussion… The orchestra accompanied with
exceptional grace and fine intonation.”
The East Oregonian, October 28, 2001

“…played with intense conviction”
The Spokesman Review, Spokane, August 1994

“The Oregon East Symphony has a new conductor, Kenneth Woods, a rising
star bringing “grade A” talent to Pendleton in his trajectory.”
The East Oregonian, June 1, 2001

“Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was the Oregon East Symphony’s May 21
concert. Listening to this magnificent concert brought tears to my eyes more
than once. At the end, I was exhausted because I was so full of music. I didn’t
think I had the capacity to hear one more note, and simultaneously, all I wanted
was to continue to listen to more.”
The East Oregonian, Tuesday May 22, 2001

“Kenneth Woods led a performance of Elgar’s Enigma Variations with such
commitment and passion that one could not help but be stirred by the power of
it. Working without a score, he conducts with a fiery passion and a deep
respect for the composer’s work.”
The Elgin Valley News, February 25, 2001

“Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” by Dvorak… was played with a lush,
full sound of great beauty. The Overture to “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini  
must be played with great precision and the orchestra did just that. Conductor
Kenneth Woods pushed the orchestra to the next level. The orchestra received
and deserved standing ovations.  Profound insight . . . stunning refinement and
virtuosity. Extraordinary concerts!”
The East Oregonian, November 29, 2001

“From the first note of the concert, conductor, orchestra and audience seemed
to breathe as one.”
The East Oregonian, January 27, 2004

“A classic example of Charles Ives – his Symphony No 3 “The Camp Meeting”
(1904) – deserved the attention Ken Woods gave to balance and ensemble
tuning, allowing all the snippets of melody to come out of the “organized
chaos” that Ives was a master of. Ken Woods’ interpretation of Barber’s
Adagio for Strings was powerful, almost aggressive. A far cry from the bland
“Classic FM” style that this piece so often attracts. The work was underpinned
by some perfect intonation in the ‘cellos and bass section…”
Swann, July 5, 2005

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Spread the word. Share this post!

About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

All material in these pages is protected by copyright.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *