This is one of those things that's good for him but sad for us. Seattle Symphony CEO Simon Woods, who has overseen Washington State's largest art organization since 2011, has taken a job at the LA Philharmonic.
Straight from the press release's mouth:
“After seven years of inspiration and friendship, the decision to leave the Seattle Symphony was extraordinarily difficult,” commented Woods. “But it’s tempered by the great sense of certainty I feel about the Symphony’s resilience and strength for the future. This is an organization that knows what it stands for, knows where it’s headed and knows how to get there. It’s an amazing group of smart, talented, creative, collaborative and dedicated people, both on stage and off, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the Seattle Symphony’s finest days still lie ahead. I am grateful beyond words to have been able to be part of the story.”
The symphony says it will launch an international search to replace Woods.
Tom Keogh over at the Seattle Times gives us a sense of the difference between being CEO of Seattle Symphony and CEO of the L.A. Phil:
The difference is L.A. Phil’s more epic scale, with almost 300 concerts a year (compared to 200 at SSO) and annual revenues of $125 million ($32 million here). Yearlong concert scheduling between two venues brings in more patrons than L.A. Phil says it can count, while Seattle Symphony says it reaches 500,000 people through various activities.
I've called the Seattle Symphony "a fucking municipal treasure" before, and Woods is one of its brightest doubloons. He deserves major administrative cred for establishing the symphony's record label—which has been hauling in Grammys—but I liked him because he was always fired up to talk about music and about what else the symphony could be doing for the city. It seemed genuinely important to him to launch, devote resources to, and expand its Simple Gifts program, and to make sure that the symphony was a welcome place for everyone.
The news comes amidst what looks like a lot of good and healthy turnover for place. Early last month, the symphony announced they'd be replacing current music director Ludovic Morlot with their principal guest conductor Thomas Dausgaard.