LA Phil Names New CEO: Simon Woods

November 16, 2017, 2:10 PM · On Thursday Los Angeles Philharmonic announced the appointment of Simon Woods as its new Chief Executive Director, effective Jan. 22, 2018.

Woods, who has served as President and CEO of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra since May 2011, succeeds Deborah Borda, who departed the LA Phil in March to become CEO of the New York Philharmonic last fall. Borda had led the organization for 17 years, with major accomplishments including the completion of Disney Hall and the appointment of Gustavo Dudamel as Music and Artistic Director.

Simon Woods
Simon Woods. Photo by Brandon Patoc.

"It is the very greatest honor to have been chosen for this position," Woods said. "The Los Angeles Philharmonic demonstrates persuasively and passionately in every aspect of its work what a contemporary and forward-looking orchestra can be in one of the world's great global cities. The chance to work closely with Gustavo Dudamel, the remarkable musicians, a great board, and the tremendously creative staff team is a completely inspiring prospect. I join the LA Phil with the greatest humility and admiration, and look forward to helping to lead it through the Centennial and into its next century."

Gail Samuel, Acting President and CEO of the LA Phil since March, will resume her position as Executive Director for the Association upon Simon Woods' formal arrival in January 2018.

"Simon comes to the Los Angeles Philharmonic with an impeccable reputation in the orchestral world," said LA Phil Board Chair Jay Rasulo. "He has a proven record of innovative and collaborative leadership, a deep knowledge of and commitment to music, and a passion for music education and social action. He has been instrumental in establishing the Seattle Symphony as a dynamic, forward-looking and community-focused organization, re-positioning the orchestra as one with artistic, financial and reputational success."

"Simon has a wonderful reputation, a great knowledge of music, a passion for music education, and understands the intricacies of an organization as complex and unique as the LA Phil," Dudamel said. "I am very much looking forward to working with him as we head into our second century,"

Before his work in Seattle, Woods was Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO); President and CEO of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; and Vice President of Artistic Planning and Operations at The Philadelphia Orchestra. From the late 1980s to the late 1990s he worked as a record producer with EMI Classics in London. Born in London, Woods earned a degree in Music from Cambridge University, and a post-graduate diploma in conducting from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is a board member of Cultural Access Washington and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. He was a board member of the League of American Orchestras and Chair of the Group 1 Orchestra CEO group from 2015 to 2017. He is a long-standing contributor to the League's professional development programs, including being a core faculty member for Essentials of Orchestra Management in 2016 and 2017.

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November 17, 2017 at 07:07 PM · And the other big piece of west coast orchestral news recently is that of Michael Tilson Thomas leaving the San Francisco Symphony. Admittedly the news is from 31 October, but it takes a long while for electrons to travel to Australia, even if it is downhill all the way.

I have a bit of a soft spot for MTT and the SFSO simply because when I lived in Santa Cruz from about 2000 to 2006, the ex and I would go and see them. They would hold concerts over the hill in San Jose which we'd go to, and on a couple of occasions make it a special weekend by going up to see concerts in Louise Davies Hall in San Francisco. Good memories.


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