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LA Phil CEO On The Famed Orchestra’s Place In Today’s Multicultural Los Angeles

Simon Woods, CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Simon Woods, CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Brandon Patoc

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How do you keep a traditionally Euro-centric organization like the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra continually relevant in a multicultural and decidedly un-European city like L.A.?

It’s a question that L.A. Phil CEO Simon Woods has been working to address since he took the position with the orchestra at the start of 2018, just months after he stepped away from his old position leading the Seattle Symphony Orchestra to take over for Deborah Borda, who left the L.A. Phil to take a job as president of the New York Philharmonic.

Looking at Woods’ bonafides, it’s no surprise he was a top choice for the role at the L.A. Phil.

Woods studied music composition and conducting at Cambridge University and was a record producer for EMI at Abbey Road Studios before shifting to the world of orchestral management where he had stints with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra before taking the CEO job in Seattle.

Today on AirTalk, Simon Woods sits down with Larry Mantle to talk about his vision for the future of the L.A. Phil, the challenges of managing an arts organization in today’s world and how the L.A. Phil sees itself in a dramatically reshaped Los Angeles.


Simon Woods, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra