Kenneth Woods

Kenneth Woods - Conductor

Principal Conductor English Symphony Orchestra


Hailed by Gramophone as a “symphonic conductor of stature,” conductor, cellist, composer and author Kenneth Woods has worked with the National Symphony Orchestra (USA), Royal Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and English Chamber Orchestra. He has also appeared on the stages of some of the world’s leading music festivals, such as Aspen, Scotia and Lucerne. In 2013, he became Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, succeeding Vernon Handley. In 2015 he was made the second Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest, the only American organization other than the New York Philharmonic to receive the Gold Medal of the International Gustav Mahler Society.


Kenneth Woods was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestra of the Swan in 2010 and during his tenure lifted that orchestra to a new level of international renown. With them, he recorded the first complete cycle of the symphonies of Austrian composer Hans Gál, paired with those of Robert Schumann for Avie Records, among the most widely praised classical recording projects in recent years, highlighted in National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Performance Today, BBC Radio 3, the Sunday New York Times, the Sunday Telegraph, Washington Post and was an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. Among his other recordings are Schoenberg’s chamber ensemble versions of Das Lied von der Erde and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (for Somm) by Gustav Mahler, which won the coveted IRR Outstanding rosette from International Record Review, and Spring Sounds, Spring Seas (for MSR), a MusicWeb ‘Record of the His recordings with the English Symphony Orchestra and English String Orchestra include the Elgar Piano Quintet as orchestrated by Donald Fraser and the complete piano concertos of Ernst Krenek, a Sunday Times Essential New Release.


A respected mentor and celebrated conducting pedagogue, in 2005 Woods was asked by the musicians of the Rose City (Oregon) Chamber Orchestra to found a new professional training institute for young conductors. In just a few years under his leadership, the Rose City International Conductor’s Workshop became widely recognized as one of the leading training centres for young conductors. In 2016, he founded the Mahler Conducting Fellowship at the Colorado MahlerFest, which offers three outstanding emerging Mahler interpreters a chance to study and perform the music of Mahler in MahlerFest’s unique atmosphere of scholarship, exploration and enquiry. His current and former students hold positions with many of the leading orchestras, opera companies and new music ensembles in North America and Europe. His work as conducting pedagogue, cello teacher, chamber music coach and adjudicator have taken him to the Royal College of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Boston University, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Eastern Oregon University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, and he teaches and coaches every summer at music festivals in Europe and North America.


YouTube: Ken conducts SchumannMahlerElgar and Prokofiev.


Student feedback

“Thank you… the workshop was fantastic!” 

Keitako Harada- Assistant Conductor, Cincinnati Symphony


“Thank you so much again for inviting me to participate in the MahlerFest as a conducting fellow. I am really, really grateful to have been invited and so happy that I attended. I learned an amazing amount and was very inspired by the music, music-making, and all of your insights on the podium and in your instruction. “ 

Francis Scully- Music Director New Resonance Chamber Orchestra, 2016 Mahler Conducting Fellow

Kenneth Woods

Lesson Length

Do you have queries or questions about lessons with Musical Orbit?

Fill out the form below or drop us an email at and we'll help you!

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Registered office & business address:

Musical Orbit Ltd
105 Bury Street, London HA47TF

Registered number: 9509031

Registered in England & Wales