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, Artistic Director of the Elgar Festival, 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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A New Golden Age for Musical Storytelling

A New Golden Age for Musical Storytelling

These new works, not available anywhere else, can be heard in individually curated programmes to suit any occasion alongside music from major film scores, classics of the storytelling repertoire and classical favourites.
They’re perfect for seasonal concerts, too.

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Ken's Winter-Spring 2020 Highlights

14-16 January - Ken is recording music for two new discs for Nimbus Records with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The first CD includes the Fourth Symphony of Matthew Taylor, to be released alongside the English Symphony Orchestra's recording of Taylor's Fifth. On the second CD, BBC NOW will record Philip Sawyers' Hommage to Kandinsky and Fourth Symphony.

31 January and 1 February - Ken kicks off the English Symphony Orchestra's celebrations of Beethoven's 250th Birthday with up-and-coming piano superstar, Isata Kanneh-Mason, who plays Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto on both concerts. On the 31st, Ken and the ESO perform Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, on the 1st, his Eighth.

25 April - Ken and Neil Ferris conduct a spectacular programme celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the sailing of Mayflower, including the world premiere of Philip Sawyers' Mayflower on the Sea of Time, Copland's Appalachian Spring (with dance) and more. 

9-17 May - Ken returns as Artistic Director of Colorado MahlerFest for the most ambitious program yet, including Act One of Wagner's Die Walküre, Mahler's Second Symphony and Philip Sawyers' Hommage to Kandinsky

28-31 May - A busy weekend in Worcestershire celebrating the life and music of Edward Elgar with Ken in his third year as Artistic Director of The Elgar Festival. Highlights include the launch of the new Elgar Festival Chorus, Elgar's First Symphony, two professional chamber choirs and a concert celebrating Elgar's travels.

30 August - Ken leads a Royal Gala Proms concert at the Queen's Residence on the Sandringham Estate. Hosted by Brian Blessed.

Ken's Recent Recordings

Christopher Gunning – Symphonies 2, 10 and 12, BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Spotify Featured New Release

"Thrilling!" Ian Skelly, BBC Radio 3 Essential Classics

David Matthews – Symphony No. 9

"Kenneth Woods conducts the sweet serenity that is the English Symphony Orchestra....This is music to hold close and to savour at leisure." Norman Lebrecht

“A remarkable, enjoyable disc, brilliantly performed by Kenneth Woods’ English Symphony Orchestra. Buy multiple copies and distribute to the ones you love… " Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

Johanness Brahms arr. Kenneth Woods- Piano Quartet in A major

"Wood’s achievement, made over several years and then revised in time for this recording, is considerable and imaginative" - Classical Source

Kenneth Woods Conducts Orchestral Music of Philip Sawyers

“Sawyers’ thrilling orchestral music truly captivates, aided and abetted by pitch-perfect soloists Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) and Simon Desbruslais (trumpet) and the ESO.” BBC Music Magazine

"...probing intensity....The English SO are unfailingly committed in the perceptive hands of Kenneth Woods." Gramophone Magazine

"Five stars" The Birmingham Post

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

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