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Kenneth Woods, conductor
ken's page
The unofficial bio:

American conductor Kenneth Woods has taken a rather
scenic route to the podium. Originally bitten by the
conducting bug when he seized the opportunity to “conduct”
an excerpt of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony at an open
rehearsal when he was four years old, he has been a rock
‘n’ roll guitarist, jazz musician, writer and theatrical light
designer. Through all these phases, the cello has been his
constant companion, as a soloist, orchestral player and
chamber musician. As a rocker, Ken still relishes the
memories of working with a drummer named Chicken, a
guitarist who took to playing in a diaper and a lead singer
who used to pull a “special secret surprise” out of the bass
drum at every show.

He’s worked with a number of internationally known
orchestras including the National Symphony, Budapest
Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony and the BBC
National Orchestra of Wales, with whom he appears
frequently on BBC Radio 3. He has held the Aspen
Fellowship in both cello and conducting, and was a Debut
Artist in the National Conducting Institute at the Kennedy
Center but has also been artist-in-residence in the poorest
county in America (on the floodplains of  Northeast
Arkansas) during his time with the Taliesin Trio, and has
been the music director of the “most remotely situated full-
symphony orchestra on the planet” (the Oregon East
Symphony) since 2000.

He continues to play chamber music with members of
leading orchestras and quartets, but has also enjoyed
diverse projects such as being the banjo player and
guitarist for the Grammy Award-winning New England
Ragtime Ensemble, and spending a year as acting director
of the Eastern Jazz Ensemble. As a teacher, he frequently
works with youth orchestras and is the founder of an
international summer institute for young conductors in
Portland, Oregon.

Ken moved to Britain in 2003 and lives in Cardiff with his
wife, Suzanne, their dog, Murphy, and their very well-
traveled cat, Picasso. Together, they enjoy camping and
hiking, food and film. Ken’s longstanding interest in writing
has recently found a new outlet with his popular blog, A
View from the Podium, which has gained favorable notice
from the music and arts critics of the Guardian, the Wall
Street Journal and The New Yorker magazine.

In 2000, he fulfilled the ambition of his four-year-old self by
conducting his first complete performances of
Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, a work he now performs
often. He much prefers not returning the baton to another
Ken and Murphy on Rannoch Moor
in the Scottish Highlands
Essays, program notes, opinion...

Thanks for visiting the site. Please get
in touch if you have any questions or
comments. I'd also like to invite you to
visit the
blog. There you'll not only find
current writings and journal entries, but
also interactive program notes for the
works I'll be conducting. It's your
chance to get my take on the music
before you come to the concert.

Program Note- Bartok Viola Concerto
Ken at the summit of Mount Evans, 14,264 feet
(the top of America's highest paved road)