Minnesota Orchestra CEO Tony Woodcock to Move to New England Conservatory
By Vivien Schweitzer
Anthony Woodcock, the president and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra, is stepping down from that position to become president of New England Conservatory, effective June 4. He replaces interim CEO and president Laurence Lesser and succeeds Daniel Steiner, who died in June last year.
During his 3½ years in Minnesota, Woodcock helped bolster the orchestra's fast-rising international reputation and also reduced its $4.5 million deficit by $1.1 million his first year. Working with music director Osmo Vänskä he increased concert attendance from 58% in 2002-03 to 72% in 2005-06.
Woodcock turned Sommerfest, the orchestra's summer festival led by Andrew Litton (which lost $250,000 in 2003, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune), into a profit-making event in 2006. He also negotiated a three-year contract with the musicians in 2004 that called for a wage freeze during the first year of the contract.
Woodcock's educational initiatives at the Minnesota Orchestra helped the orchestra win back-to-back ASCAP Leonard Bernstein Awards for Excellence in Educational Programming (2005 and 2006). With the Oregon Symphony, where he was president from 1998-2003, he oversaw the creation of a new education department and fostered educational programs and partnerships across the state.
During his tenure in Oregon, Woodcock also oversaw the hiring of Carlos Kalmar as music director, balanced four straight budgets and patched up the rocky relationship between musicians and the board.
Challenges awaiting him at NEC include completing the current $100 million capital campaign (which now stands at over $80 million) and the design and construction of a major campus renovation plan.
Woodcock, 55 and a native of Great Britain, trained as a violinist and studied with Alfredo Wang at University College in Cardiff. After graduating he held various administrative positions in arts organizations including the Welsh Arts Council and England's National Arts Council. In 1984 he became executive director of the City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox Singers and then general manager of Cardiff’s St. David’s Hall. There followed senior positions with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
The Boston Globe quotes Woodcock as saying, "I see working in an orchestra as really working at the cutting edge of the music industry. Going to the Conservatory is going back to the excitement and the ideals of what music is all about. And dealing with all that wonderful potential of young people, it is something that's inspiring."
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