Breaking: LA Phil snatches British boss from Seattle

Breaking: LA Phil snatches British boss from Seattle


norman lebrecht

November 16, 2017

Just when everybody seemed to think that Deborah Borda’s deputy, Gail Samuel, was going to get her job, the board of the Los Angeles Philharmonic has seduced Simon Woods away from Seattle to be their new CEO.

An EMI record producer who became head of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Woods had a rocky time with the New Jersey Symphony before Seattle came beckoning with a less sleepless job.

He has big shoes to fill in LA and a delicate relationship to manage with Gustavo Dudamel.

He does not inherit Borda’s title as president.



  • Elaine Calder says:

    Wonderful news. Congratulations to Simon!

  • MacroV says:

    Your chronology (and consequently your narrative) is off: He went from Philly (Artistic Administrator) to New Jersey, then to the RNSO, then to Seattle.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Let us not underestimate Mr. Wood’s impressive artistic achievements on his watch.

    Baby Got Back

    Posse on Broadway

    Me thinks he Mixed-Too-Much. Heartfelt apologies to Sergei Prokofiev. And to this we’ve come and all that.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    Hopefully he is up for the challenge. He leaves a good situation with MSFT, AMZN, and SBUX in his backyard for mining.

    In LA, he has to fill big shoes and suck up to the Dude.

  • Michael B. says:

    Mr. Woods has his work cut out for him. In Los Angeles, in all reality, no one really cares about classical music generally or about the Los Angeles Philharmonic specifically. All that people care about are the weekly movie box office grosses, the dresses that women wear to the about 3 billion awards shows, and the flashy, gas-guzzling sports cars driven by most people in the industry (the “environment” be damned!). Most people in the industry are not only indifferent to classical music, but many are actively hostile to it. Their business modus operandi is now based on the production of brain-dead, violence-filled swill designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of potential consumers. For people in the industry following this modus operandi, classical music is not only irrelevant, but dangerous to their bottom line, as they fear that if people start listening to Beethoven, Karlheinz Stockhausen, or John Adams, they will become more selective and demanding in their choice of entertainment and will want actual quality in their movies. A few years ago, Jeffrey Deitch nearly drove the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles into bankruptcy in a fruitless attempt to appeal to the Hollywood crowd. (Deitch was eventually fired.)

    • JulieTr says:

      That’s just silly, Michael, and steeped in really bad LA cliche. LA Philharmonic is arguably the most successful orchestra in America, with a young, multicultural patronage that other cities would kill for. You don’t get to that level without the population caring deeply about music. The organization is the pride and joy of LA, and Borda leaving was met by the city with a very real sense of loss.