Conductor Michael Woods


Michael Woods - Australian cross-over conductor (dirigent/dirijor)

Michael Woods studied trombone at the Victorian College of the Arts. He was a principal player in the Australian Youth Orchestra and the major orchestras of the Australian Symphony Network , Victoria State Opera, Australian Opera and Ballet and Australian Pops. As a 21 year old, he won the audition for a permanent principal position in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

His graduate conducting qualification comes from the University of Melbourne where he studied with international British conductor, John Hopkins OBE and was involved in the Symphony Australia conducting program. He also studied musical theatre and then choral conducting with Judith Clurman at the Juilliard School in New York and orchestral conducting with Kirk Trevor in the Czech Republic.

For some years, he has been directing concerts combining traditional orchestral classics with modern classics from film, theatre, jazz and the dance – so called Music for the People programs which appeal to audiences of widely ranging age and musical background. As a cross-over conductor in Australia and London, he has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, Australian Pops Orchestra, Orchestra of the Stars, Adelaide Symphony, Australian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Beethoven Consort and the Chamber Orchestra at St Paul’s. In Europe, he also worked with the Martinu Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and Bucharest Sinfonia in the famous Romanian Ateneum. For the stage, he directed a 14-city European tour of The Who's Tommy. His European recordings include the four symphonies of Robert Schumann with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

Apart from cross-over pops work, he has continued to direct the Chamber Orchestra at St Paul’s in concerts including Mozart Masses and Handel Anthems, as well as classical and romantic symphonies of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn and Mendelssohn. He has also introduced the orchestral works of Grieg, Chopin, Barber and Piazzolla to St Paul’s Cathedral. Through this work he has also become well-known as an orchestral accompanist for Australian instrumentalists and singers such as violinists, Curt Thompson and Jennen Ngiau-Keng; pianist, Rebecca Chambers; mezzo-soprano, Sally-Anne Russell; pianist/organist, Lachlan Redd; flautist, Derek Jones; cellist, Kalina Krusteva; oboist, Anne Gilby and harpist, Delyth Stafford. For the Melbourne Zelman and Stonnington Symphonies, his concerts included major works of Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Beethoven. His opera involvement has included the preparation of Puccini's La Rondine and Tosca, Verdi's Stiffelio and Otello and the Joan Sutherland Story for Melbourne City Opera. He has also recently conducted Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, Bellini's Norma, Mozart's Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro as well as a number of Opera Highlights concerts for Millennium Opera in Melbourne.  Puccini's Il Tabarro and La Boheme will now be followed by Rossini's La Scala di Seta in early 2020.

Over the past few years, he has travelled to Europe many times - first to perform  "Jaz" Coleman's Symphonic Pink Floyd and then Nights at the Ballet concerts with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchestra in the Berlin Konzerthaus before directing nine concerts with violinist, Michael Barenboim and the Leipzig Kammerphilharmonie in the Gewandhaus and the Berlin Sinfonietta in the Philharmonie. He travelled to Zagreb and Zadar, to conduct Music for the People (From Bach to Lennon) concerts with the Zagreb Philharmonic. He then made return cross-over visits to Romania for Music for the People (Muzica pentru Toti) and Mozart Festival concerts in Valcea and Bucharest and for Musical Jewels and Eye of the Tiger! concerts in Bucharest, Giurgiu and with the Valcea Filarmonica. He continues to travel regularly to Croatia, Romania and London, where last year he conducted major choral works of Faure and Vivaldi with the Belmont Ensemble and the English Chamber Choir at St Martin in the Fields. He returned to St Martin's to conduct Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. Most recently, he conducted two Symphonic Pink Floyd concerts with the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur and has returned to Romania to conduct symphony concerts - highlighting his connection with the works of Ravel, Prokofiev and Schumann. He has also been working in Europe with ‘Jaz’ Coleman’s Symphonic Led Zeppelin.

Last year, he directed two Symphonic Pink Floyd concerts with Melbourne Ballet Orchestra at Melbourne Recital Centre. These concerts followed on from three Christmas with the Chamber Orchestra at St Paul's concerts, four The Genius of Early Mozart concerts, three Christmas Fireworks! concerts and A Nutcracker Christmas! - all at Melbourne Recital Centre. After another short Romanian visit to Filarmonica Valcea and Filarmonica Bacau, he joined American international violinist, Curt Thompson, and the Chamber Orchestra at St Paul's at MRC for three Beethoven's Christmas! concerts. He then ended the year with three Christmas Serenade! concerts. He also conducted Italian Flute Magic! at MRC, featuring the international Italian flute virtuoso, Luisa Sello, with whom he returned to Northern Italy this year for the Festival Udine Castello.