Tom Woods is one of Australia’s leading conductors.
Tom Woods is one of Australia’s leading conductors. He grew up in Perth, Western Australia where he studied cello and piano before meeting Richard Gill, Australia’s most important music educator, and deciding to become a conductor at the age of fifteen. His first performances included Gianni Schicchi, The Cunning Little Vixen and Symphony of Psalms.
In 1989 he won a place in the Department of Foreign Affairs Cultural Exchange Programme, which allowed him to study conducting in Moscow. He immersed himself in the Russian tradition: attending rehearsals and performances of Rozhdestvensky, Svetlanov, Kolubov and Fedoseyev; lessons with his teacher, Vladimir Ponkin; and conducting professionally with several Moscow orchestras.
Returning to Australia, he became a member of the music staff of Opera Australia, making his debut with Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the age of 23, becoming the youngest conductor in the company’s history. His work for OA has included the world premiere of John Haddock’s Madeline Lee and two celebrated collaborations with director Bruce Beresford; the Australian premiere of Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, the later leading to a recently-completed PhD project in collaboration with Floyd and Boosey and Hawkes.
Tom was the Artistic Director of the Sydney Youth Orchestra 19992004, Director of Artistic Planning of the Queensland Symphony 20062010, Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, 20082014.
Moving to Germany in 2014, Tom is currently stellvertretender Generalmusikdirektor in Theater Regensburg where highlights have included Katya Kabanova, Tristan und Isolde, Lubchenko’s Doctor Zhivago and Marshner’s Hans Heiling (a critically acclaimed collaboration with director Florian Lutz). Next season he conducts Flotow’s Martha and the world premiere of Moritz Eggert’s Freax.
Tom has conducted in Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Japan, China and throughout Australasia with orchestras including the Osaka Philharmonic, Sendai Philharmonic, Sudwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, London Festival Orchestra, Krasnoyarsk Symphony and all major orchestras and operas in Australia and New Zealand.
Tom has conducted world premieres including: Sir John Tavener Lament for Jerusalem, Torsten Rasch Lycanthropy Aria, Mathew Hindson Symphony No.1, Anthony Ritchie Symphony No.5, John Haddock Madeline Lee as well as Australian/New Zealand premieres of works by Messiaen, Schnittke, Rautavaara, Kancheli and Haapamaki.
Tom is married to the pianist Natalia Sheludiakova.