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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, 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 Autumn 2019 Highlights

7 September - Ken and the ESO are joined by violinist Nicola Benedetti for their season opener in this powerful programme of the Elgar Violin Concerto and Brahms' Second Symphony

16 October - Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs (featuring April Fredrick) and Johann Strauss Jr.s Emperor Waltz in compelling chamber orchestrations with the ESO in Malvern Priory. 

13 November - A celebration of the 100th Birthday of Mieczysław Weinberg as violinist Zoë Beyers joins Ken and the ESO for this performance of Weinberg's Concertino for Violin and Strings in Malvern Priory. The concert culminates in a performance of Ken's orchestration of Tchaikovsky's Third String Quartet.

23 November - Ken and the ESO go into the recording studio to record his new string orchestra version of Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No. 3 in E-flat Minor, coming on CD from Nimbus in 2020

24 November - Hans Gál's Concertino for Violin, a work Ken recorded for his debut CD on Avie Records, is performed in historic Cheltenham Town Hall by the outstanding British violinist, Tamsin Waley Cohen. 

17 December - Ken and the ESO return to Malvern Priory for their keenly anticipated annual performance of Händel's Messiah.

Ken's Recent Recordings

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

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 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

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

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

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