Codas and transitions

Just a reminder to our friends in South Wales and the Marches that tonight is the HSO concert with Suzanne playing the Mendelssohn. Also on the program is Mozart’s Symphony No. 34 and Schubert’s Fourth Symphony, one sunny one tragic, one C major, one C minor. This being a Ken concert, you can guess which one I’m ending with! 🙂

It was a busy, exhausting trip to American and a long, unpleasant journey back (let’s just say British Airways and First Great Western Railways are not on my “highly recommended” list this week. For some reason, perhaps the fact that they dumped us all off the train in the middle of nowhere with no alternate travel so they could turn the train around to London to start the next trip on time, every time I think of First Great Western I hear a long string of profanity and words like “scum” in my head), so I’ve been living this week under the pleasant delusion that I’m not really very busy now and can take a few days to relax and cook turkey  after the demands of the last two weeks, but that is not, strictly speaking, true. Sadly (well, not that sadly), this is one of those times that I have to conduct 3 completely different programs in the coming 5 days, and four over the next 18 days. It is times like this that I’m really glad I have that long repertoire list you can see on my website- I wouldn’t want to be learning everything from scratch.

Once that rush is done, it’s on to a nice holiday break, which is really just a shift in professional priorities. I’ve got a lot of music on the second half of the season to learn, some of it very challenging (go Xenakis), and once things pick up in January, I’ll have precious little time to study for the rest of the spring. There is also a fair amount of planning work for next season that needs to happen around that time- setting rehearsal schedules and concert repertoire for all the different groups.

I’m looking forward to using part of that time to try some new projects for the blog and also hopefully beginning a new radio project- some interesting, and hopefully FUN, podcasts are in the works. Watch this space. I’ve been working for weeks, even months, to find a style and a voice that works in a studio format. We’re close, and hopefully episode one of the new series will be out very soon.

There are some huge and exciting new things coming next season- concerts and recordings that will be more high profile than most, if not all, of what I’ve done to date. Change is in the air, and change is coming to Vftp headquarters (note the last sentence of Suzanne’s bio). There are only so many hours in the day and so many days in a life, and with the coming of the new, one has to also make choices to say goodbye to some of the old. As anyone who has followed my schedule the last couple of years knows, I’ve been pretty voracious in trying to learn and do the widest range of repertoire possible, regardless of the travel demands. I feel like I’m now coming to a time when I have to get one with the work that is most important to me at the standard that I’ve always wanted to be doing it. I need to find more time for planning, writing, organizing, studying, practicing (there’s either going to be way more and more fun cello stuff in the coming decade or none!) and all that stuff, so now is the time to think about how I do that.

Well, not now…. 18 days from now….



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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

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3 comments on “Codas and transitions”

  1. Sheridan

    Woo hoo! Congrats! It’s life-altering, utterly transforming. You won’t look at anything the same way ever again. Mazel tov!

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