Simon Woods Appointed Executive Director of Seattle Symphony

Woods is Currently Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Seattle, WA – The Seattle Symphony Board of Directors has named orchestra and recording industry executive Simon Woods as its new Executive Director. Woods joins the organization at a key time as Seattle Symphony celebrates the leadership of its Music Director of 26 years, Gerard Schwarz, and prepares to welcome Music Director Designate, Ludovic Morlot, who will become Music Director in the 2011– 2012 season. Woods will begin working with Seattle Symphony immediately on key institutional decisions, and will take up his new role full-time in May 2011.

Woods comes to Seattle from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, one of the United Kingdom's leading symphony orchestras, where he is Chief Executive. He has achieved considerable success there in the areas of artistic leadership, fund raising, marketing, public relations, and education and community engagement. Prior to this, Woods worked in the United States as President and CEO of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and as Vice President, Artistic Planning and Operations, at The Philadelphia Orchestra. Earlier, he worked in London as a record producer with EMI Classics, where he initiated and produced recordings with many of the world's foremost classical artists and ensembles.

"Simon Woods is a proven leader in our field, and we are excited he will become our organization's next Executive Director," Board of Directors Chair Leslie Jackson Chihuly stated. "His passion for symphonic music and creating enthusiasm for the art form in the community is inspiring, and his experience in the executive role is key to fulfilling the objectives in our strategic plan. He is well suited to ensure a smooth transition for all of our constituents as we move from artistic leadership under our esteemed Music Director, Gerard Schwarz, to the new leadership of Maestro Ludovic Morlot."

"The Seattle Symphony is a great orchestra, based in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world, in a vibrant and beautiful city," commented Woods. "The organization is highly energized right now as it celebrates the incredible legacy of Gerard Schwarz and prepares for a new era under its much-admired new music director. It's a privilege to join the team at this tremendous moment. In particular, I look forward to being part of the special relationship that Seattle Symphony has with the people of this great city, and finding new ways to inspire as many people as possible, from all ages and all backgrounds, with the Symphony's world-class music-making."

"I've worked with Simon both in Philadelphia and New Jersey and found him to be an outstanding leader with an infectious passion for orchestras," commented Schwarz. "He has very deep knowledge of music and, most importantly, he is a man of impeccable taste and integrity."

Music Director Designate Ludovic Morlot stated, "I am thrilled to welcome Simon Woods as the new Executive Director of the Seattle Symphony. I look forward to our creative partnership with great anticipation. Simon is simply brilliant and this appointment is a vital step as the Orchestra continues to build a beautiful future for itself."

"The musicians enthusiastically welcome Simon Woods," said Timothy Hale, Violist, Chair of the Players' Organization, and member of the Executive Director Search Committee. "He has demonstrated wisdom, vision and strong leadership while serving in the administrations of other major orchestras. Most importantly, he understands the pursuit of artistic excellence. He will be a dynamic partner with the musicians and Maestro Morlot as we move forward together."

As Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) since August 2005, Woods has led the orchestra through a period that is considered to be among the most successful in its recent history, with the introduction of new concert series, significant increase in the orchestra's commitment to young people, innovative community engagement programs, the expansion of international touring, and an increased presence on radio and recordings. He also launched a major fund-raising initiative that generated significant new annual fund donations, and more than doubled the number of subscribers.

From 1997 to 2005, Woods worked in the United States. From 2004–2005, he was President and CEO of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, leading the orchestra through a period of major and positive change as it experienced institutional upheaval. From 1997 to 2004, Woods was Artistic Administrator, and later, Vice President, Artistic Planning and Operations at The Philadelphia Orchestra, working closely with Music Directors Wolfgang Sawallisch and Christoph Eschenbach, overseeing touring, operations, recordings, broadcasting, education and community partnerships, and the orchestra's operational relationship with the Kimmel Center.

From 1988 to 1997, Woods worked in London as a record producer with EMI Classics where he initiated, planned, budgeted, produced and edited recordings with many of the world's foremost classical artists and ensembles. Earlier, he managed corporate sponsorships for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He holds a music degree from the University of Cambridge, England, and a postgraduate diploma in conducting from the Guildhall School of Music in London.

Woods, who is British, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of British Orchestras. From 1999 to 2002 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Composers Forum. During his time in the United States he was an active participant in the League of American Orchestras' professional development programs, and has led seminars on concert programming and artistic administration.

Woods and his wife, Karin Brookes, will relocate to Seattle along with their 12-year-old son, Barnaby, and 9-year-old daughter, Isabel.

Seattle Symphony PR

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa