Meet our new assistant conductor!
We have very exciting news – we are welcoming a third conducting position to our roster. Please give a warm welcome to Naomi Woo, our new assistant conductor!
The 29-year-old Canadian is a conductor, pianist, and musicologist whose interdisciplinary approach to performance and scholarship has captivated audiences in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Naomi has performed as a pianist in venues including Carnegie Hall and the Orpheum Theatre. Passionate about contemporary music, she has conducted and performed dozens of world premieres and other works by living composers. She placed second in the 2016 Eckhardt-Gramatté competition in Brandon for Canadian and contemporary music and was awarded the Prix Hélène-Roberge for the best performance of a Canadian work in 2015. Naomi holds a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University, and will soon complete a PhD in Musicology at Cambridge University in England as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Her work has been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, and Help Musicians UK.
Naomi will be responsible for conducting all WSO educational concerts including the Great West Life Kids Concert series. Additionally, she will be the first Sistema Winnipeg music director and will be the new conductor of the University of Manitoba orchestra. Naomi will also conduct the WSO’s Holiday Tour.
We sat down with Naomi to get to know her a bit better.
WSO: What’s your favourite piece you have conducted so far?
Naomi: Probably Stravinsky’s Les Noces, an epic depiction of a Russian wedding celebration, including four (FOUR!) pianos, six percussionists, a choir, and four soloists. As you can imagine, it was very loud, chaotic, and exhilarating! I am still amazed that we managed to get all four pianos in the same room at one time.
What is your “bucket list” piece to conduct?
I have so many operas especially on the bucket list. It would be a dream to conduct Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin.
What is your favourite food?
When I’m visiting family in Vancouver, definitely sushi. In England, where I live now, whatever is freshly picked from my garden!
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Dog! My family has the sweetest, friendliest puppy called Mordecai – Morty, for short. He would be mortally offended if I answered anything else.
You can say hello to Naomi beginning in our 2019-2020 season!