Shock: LA Phil chief quits

Shock: LA Phil chief quits


norman lebrecht

September 17, 2019

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has announced the abrupt departure of Simon Woods, its chief executive since January 2018.

No reason was given. He will leave immediately.

Woods said: ‘The Los Angeles Philharmonic is an extraordinary organization in every respect. It has been my complete honor to lead it for almost two years. However, after a great deal of reflection, I have concluded that my hopes and aspirations lie elsewhere, and as a result, I have tendered my resignation. I wish Gustavo, the musicians, the staff, the Board and everyone associated with this organization all the very best as it commences its second century.’

Two board members will run the organisation until a new CEO is appointed.

UPDATE: We have been here before.

Woods, a Londoner, previously spent seven years at the head of the Seattle Symphony. Before that, he was with New Jersey Symphony and, prior to that, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. A sometime record producer for EMI, he has a post-grad diploma in conducting.

He has never left a job before in mid-movement.

His predecessor Deborah Borda told the LA Times: ‘The cultural ecology of every artistic institution is unique and particular, and a leader who works brilliantly in one setting may simply just not be right in another. Bravo to Simon for his clarity, as it must have been a difficult decision.’


  • Lorenzino says:

    The Philharmonia are looking for a new CEO…?

  • Olassus says:

    Yeah, the “cultural ecology” of the L.A. Phil is now far removed from what it was in Fleishmann’s day — and not for the better.

    But why is Deborah Borda mouthing off already, if this is all so sudden? Can’t she for once just button it and not self-promote?

  • Olassus says:


  • Esther Cavett says:

    In an interview, Mr Woods said “I’ve tended to go into leadership positions in organizations where they were going through difficult periods and needed a lot of help rethinking how they function”.

    Maybe that’s what he’s better at.

  • Gwen Krueger says:

    He will be sadly missed.

  • Whatever says:

    Maybe, they should find someone from Los Angeles, who actually knows this town and who has driven on the 405 FWY instead of someone from London. But, because the Board thinks that the only qualified people to run this orchestra are from places other than our home town, it’s wishful thinking! Haha

  • Martin Andersen says:

    Two corrections: Mr. Woods was Executive Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra before, not after, he took a similar position at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Also, he left the NJSO after only 18 months on the job; so he had left a position “in mid-movement” before doing so in LA.