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Welcome to the website of Kenneth Woods

Welcome to the website of Kenneth Woods

Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of Colorado MahlerFest and a guest conductor of orchestras, new music ensembles and opera companies worldwide. A frequent broadcaster, his blog, A View from the Podium, is one of most popular classical blogs in the world today.

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21st C Symphony Project

21st C Symphony Project

Learn more about the 21st C. Symphony Project, Ken and the ESO's ambitious plan to commission, record and premiere nine new symphonies by nine leading international composers

Gramophone Magazine 2017 Critics' Choice Best of the Year

“The importance of Woods’s initiative is greatly significant, and to judge by Philip Sawyers’s Third Symphony
the plan has got off to an excellent start….Sawyers is a natural symphonist… This Symphony, like the songcycle,
is a masterpiece” Robert Matthew-Walker, ClassicalSource.

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Jane Eyre- The Opera

Jane Eyre- The Opera

One of the most highly praised new operas premiered in recent years.

2016 Classical Music Magazine Premiere of the Year
2016 Birmingham Post Top Classical Event of the Year
2017 MusicWeb Record of the Year
Five Stars Musical Opinion

On tour from 2018-19. Learn more

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Ken's Winter and Spring 2018 Highlights

15 February- Ken conducts the ESO in a performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto with Chloe Hanslip at Malvern Theatres. Also on the programme is Schumann's Rhenish Symphony

25 February- Ken conducts the world premiere of Philip Sawyers' Violin Concerto (being recorded for release on Nimbus Records) with violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky on a programme with Schumann's Second Symphony. 

15 March- Ken conducts the world premiere of Philip Sawyers' new tone poem, Valley of Vision (being recorded for release on Nimbus Records) in Malvern Priory on a programme with Beethoven's 3rd Symphony and Haydn's Mass in Time of War.

5 April- Ken conducts the world premiere recording of Donald Fraser's Sinfonietta for String Orchestra in Abbey Road

19 April- Ken conducts the world premiere of Jesse Jones' Smith Square Dances on a programme with Ives' Third Symphony, the Piston Sinfonietta and the Copland Clarinet Concerto with Emma Johnson as part of St John's Smith Square's American 2018 Festival

9 May- Ken conducts the world premiere of David Matthews Symphony no. 9, the second work in the ESO's 21st Century Symphony Project, as part of the re-opening celebrations of St George's Bristol concert on a programme which includes Donald Fraser's hugely acclaimed orchestration of the Elgar Piano Quintet and the Elgar Cello Concerto with young cello superstar Sheku Kanneh-Mason

11-21 May- Ken returns to Boulder Colorado for his third season as Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest for a season of concerts built around Mahler's final song cycle, Das Lied von der Erde and Sibelius' final symphony, his Seventh.

1-4 June- Ken serves as Artistic Director of the first season of the new Elgar Festival in Worcester.

Ken's Recent Recordings

Sawyers- Symphony no. 3, Songs of Loss and Regret, Fanfare

Critics' Choice- Best Recordings of 2017, Gramophone Magazine

"Kenneth Woods is a passionate and convincing advocate for this music - as indeed he was for the 2nd Symphony - and the accompanying works on that disc - too. But this is evidenced by as compelling a first recording as I could imagine these works receiving. " Nick Barnard- MusicWeb International

Kenneth Woods and ESO with violinist Harriet Mackenzie- An Eventful Morning in East London

"Recording of the Year, 2017" MusicWeb International

"Every now and then, a new work comes along that simply takes one's breath away... a wonderful performance of a wonderful concerto Very, very strongly recommended." Gramophone Magazine

"Five stars" The Times

John Joubert- Jane Eyre: An opera in two acts

"Recording of the Year, 2017" MusicWeb International

"Kenneth Woods conducted an on-fire English Symphony Orchestra, an array of soloists was headed by the totally committed April Fredrick and David Stout as Jane and Rochester, and the audience response to this gloriously lyrical, excitingly dramatic score was immense." Chris Morley- Birmingham Post

Ernst Krenek- Complete Piano Concertos, volume 2

Forbes' Magazine- Best Classical Recordings of 2017

Classical Candor - Favourite Recordings of 2017

Five Stars- International Piano Magazine

Hans Gál- The Four Symphonies

“The Orchestra of the Swan provide a quietly compelling account, relishing the many solos, duos and textural intricacies that Gál wrings from his orchestra.” – Gramophone, Editor’s Choice

“Beautifully played…transcendent…this orchestra seems to breathe together.” – BBC Music Magazine

Elgar arr. Fraser- Piano Quintet and Sea Pictures, Kenneth Woods, English Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra

“…gorgeous depths of tone…a worthy addition to the Elgar canon” Classical Music Magazine

"...beautifully realised, performed with warmth and understanding, and sympathetically recorded..." Stephen Johnson- BBC Music Magazine