Magicians of the Orchestra


KW for Magicians Kenneth Woods publicity photos by Chris Stock 018



Lecture, masterclass and performance


What do orchestral conductors do? Are they wizards with magic wands or overpaid time-keepers? How can we know if they are good, bad or indifferent? What musical techniques must they master? Is success down to personality or skill? In a three-part exploration of the maestro’s craft, Kenneth Woods, principal guest conductor of the Stratford-based Orchestra of the Swan and founder of the Rose City International Conductors’ Workshop in the USA, discusses the work of some of the great conductors of the past, then puts a group of young conductors through their paces in a masterclass. Afterwards, there will be a chance for several members of the audience to try conducting for themselves. The event will end with a performance of a chosen work using a variety of possible ensembles to suit budget and context. We recommend a professional standard ensemble to gain the full benefit of this fascinating experience. The event lasts approximately three hours including breaks.


S A M P L E    P R O G R A M M E

Magicians of the Orchestra: Kenneth Woods offers an introduction to the art of conducting

Conducting Masterclass: with Justin Fung, Marco Galvani & Sebastian Grand

Public masterclass: a chance for members of the audience to try conducting. Anyone interested should leave their names at the desk before the end of the interval.

Concert performance by the Orchestra of the Swan

Kenneth Woods conductor & David Le Page leader

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) (arr. Alan Boustead)

Serenade in D, Op. 11, No. 1


About the artist

Kenneth Woods – Lecturer and Conductor

Hailed by the Washington Post as a “true star” of the podium, conductor, rock guitarist, author and cellist Kenneth Woods has worked with many orchestras of international distinction including the National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia and State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, he took up a new position as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, succeeding Vernon Handley. In 2010, Kenneth Woods became Principal Guest Conductor of Stratford-upon-Avon-based Orchestra of the Swan. He is active with the orchestra in concert as well as recordings, beginning with an all-Mahler CD for Somm Records released to critical acclaim in the spring of 2011. For Avie Records he has embarked on a survey of the world premiere recordings of the four symphonies by Austrian émigré composer Hans Gál alongside those by Schumann.

A respected mentor, 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 centers for young conductors, drawing students from the world’s leading conservatories and nations as diverse as Argentina, Japan, Korea, Germany, Spain, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, Russia and Canada. A widely read writer and frequent broadcaster, Woods’ blog, A View from the Podium, is one of the 25 most popular classical blogs in the world. He has spoken on Mahler on NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.


Technical requirements:


  • Stands and chairs for the ensemble, conductor’s stand and podium
  • PA system depending on the size of venue
  • Overhead projector and lap link to Apple Mac
  • Lighting can be adapted, but rigged lighting and control panel preferred