Birmingham Post Interview

There is a nice interview with me in the Birmingham Post today. Chief critic Chris Morley managed to take the conversation to a few places I’d  never been asked about, particularly my affection for the music of William Walton, whose Facade I’m conducting with Orchestra of the Swan on May 31st in Compton Verney as part of the  Spring Sounds festival.

“I’ve always loved Walton’s music. He and Elgar have held a special place in the pantheon for me since I was very young.

‘‘I doubt you would find many people who listened to the Walton Cello Concerto (composed in Ischia) more times between the ages of 14 and 18 than I did.When my cello teacher finally told me he would work with me on it, I was overjoyed.

‘‘The only tragedy with Walton is that there isn’t a huge output, and most of the works are both very difficult and written for quite a large orchestra. That makes his music a tough sell in America, where he’s not well known.

“Still, I adore the three concertos, the First Symphony is an absolute masterpiece, and so are the Variations on a Theme of Hindemith, which I’m conducting for the first time this summer. I’ve been trying to programme that piece for 15 years,” Kenneth adds.

“Facade really stands apart from the rest of his output because of the extremely witty and colourful poems, which he sets with incredible sharpness and fantasy. You wouldn’t expect the man who wrote the last movement of the Cello Concerto to be so good at comedy, but genius is like that.

‘‘It’s a pity he didn’t get more commissions that would have pointed him towards other unexpected paths during his life – he was one of those rare talents who could just compose whatever a situation demands.

Read the whole thing here.

Details on Orchestra of the Swan Spring Sounds Festival and my concert on the 31st.

Date : Monday, 31 May 2010

The final orchestral concert of Spring Sounds 2010, join us at this beautiful Palladian house set in the rolling Warwickshire countryside.

Walton’s Facade
Monday 31st May 2010, 3pm
Compton Verney

Joanna Lee: The Chronicles of Archy – world premiere
Walton: Facade – an entertainment

Sarah Leonard: soprano
Ken Woods: conductor

A pre concert talk will take place at 2.15pm

Tickets: £15 – includes gallery admission
Compton Verney Members: £5 – includes gallery admission
Available at or 01926 645500

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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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