Naomi Woo leaves the WSO at the end of the 2022/2023 Season
Naomi Woo’s star will continue to rise as she does exactly what the role of Assistant Conductor at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra prepared her to do – become a sought-after guest conductor. Woo takes her final bow with the WSO at the end of the 2022/2023 season.
After four years of opportunity, mentorship and experience, Woo has become a highly sought-after guest conductor with a growing reputation on the international stage. She looks forward to debuts and return engagements across Canada, the US and the UK in 2023/2024.
Woo came to WSO in May of 2019 through the RBC Emerging Artists Project, which enabled the orchestra to hire, mentor and coach her full-time. As part of this role, she has also been Sistema Winnipeg’s first music director and the University of Manitoba Orchestra music director.
The Assistant Conductor position was created to further the commitments of the WSO and RBC to develop and enhance the Canadian orchestral community of female and non-binary conductors, providing an opportunity for musical development and career enhancement.
With the support of the WSO, Woo has developed into a well-rounded conductor and community ambassador for the orchestra. She had opportunities to develop her skills in education and community engagement, designing family and education concerts, including the beloved Manitoba Mosaic, in 2021, and her rendition of Carnival of the Animals in collaboration with local Métis actor Simon. She has also been featured by the WSO as a pianist—for Mozart’s Double Piano Concert with Rei Hotoda and during the WNMF in 2022.
“The WSO is the first professional orchestra I had the opportunity to conduct in. I’m honoured that they took a chance on me and enabled me to develop as a conductor over the past four seasons. I’m especially grateful for the mentorship, support and advice I have received from Music Director Daniel Raiskin, Associate Conductor Julian Pellicano, and all the musicians of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The opportunity to work alongside the WSO team has provided me with invaluable experience and training that I will cherish as I embark on the next steps of my career. This incredible community of musicians will always serve as a model for me of what an orchestral community can feel like—thank you!” says Woo, reflecting on her time at the WSO.
Woo’s contributions back to the orchestra community are plentiful and have come full circle as she has also been a mentor for the biennial RBC Canadian Conductors Showcase. This program, delivered by the WSO, provides unique and vital professional training opportunities to on-the-rise Canadian conductors.
Throughout her time at the WSO, Woo has received numerous accolades and recognition, including recognition in Flare Magazine and CBC’s 30 under 30 and a feature role on ARTV’s documentary Femmes Symphoniques. During the WSO’s Lunar New Year Celebration concert earlier this year, Woo was presented with the Canada Council for the Arts Virginia Parker Prize. This prestigious national award is given to a musician, instrumentalist or classical music conductor under 32 who demonstrates outstanding talent, musicianship and artistic excellence and makes a valuable contribution to artistic life in Canada and internationally. This is precisely who Naomi Woo is and was the perfect accolade as she steps away from the WSO.
“Our partnership with WSO has supported Naomi Woo with exactly what RBC Emerging Artists is meant to deliver for up-and-coming artists, which is to provide results-driven programs and resources to help them gain recognition for their talent and develop their professional careers,” says Chris White, RBC Regional Vice President, Winnipeg. “Naomi’s trajectory has been ignited by RBC and WSO’s mutual support, fueled by mentorship, artistic development and early success. We wish Naomi much-continued success along her journey.”