Simon Woods Named CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Simon Woods - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Brandon Patoc  

He comes from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and replaces Deborah Borda, who left for New York in March.

After an eight-month search, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has found its new CEO.

Simon Woods, the president and CEO of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra since May 2011, on Thursday was named to head L.A.'s symphonic organization, L.A. Phil board chair Jay Rasulo announced.

The London native replaces Deborah Borda, who left in March after an influential 17-year stint in L.A. to join the New York Philharmonic. Among her accomplishments, she spearheaded the appointment of the charismatic Venezuelan conductor and music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel.


Woods officially takes the reins Jan. 22 as the L.A. Phil embarks on a 100th anniversary celebration. Gail Samuel, who has served as acting president and CEO since Borda's departure, will return as executive director upon his formal arrival.

"Simon comes to the Los Angeles Philharmonic with an impeccable reputation in the orchestral world," Rasulo said in a statement. "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, repositioning the orchestra as one with artistic, financial and reputational success. He is a great choice for the future of the L.A. Phil."

Dudamel added that Woods "has a wonderful reputation, a great knowledge of music" and "understands the intricacies of an organization as complex and unique as the L.A. Phil."

Before Seattle, Woods served as chief executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as president and CEO of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and as vp artistic planning and operations for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

From the late 1980s to the late '90s, he worked as a record producer with EMI Classics in London, where he initiated and produced recordings with many of the world's foremost classical artists and ensembles.

He earned a degree in music from Cambridge University and a post-graduate diploma in conducting from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

"It is the very greatest honor to have been chosen for this position," he 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 L.A. Phil with the greatest humility and admiration and look forward to helping to lead it through the centennial and into its next century."