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Seattle Symphony’s Simon Woods Heads South to L.A.

November 16, 2017

A major personnel change mid-season: Seattle Symphony President and CEO Simon Woods is stepping down to assume a commensurate role with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, beginning in January of 2018.

Woods’s scheduled arrival in L.A. follows the fallout from former-L.A. Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda’s departure in September, whose seat is currently being kept warm by Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Gail Samuel.

Borda, a New York native, left the East Coast in the ’90s for the burgeoning, more forward-thinking L.A. Phil and, in her 17 years there, dug the institution out of a several million-dollar deficit and built up the largest budget of any American orchestra currently, only to return to New York this fall.

Woods will be stepping into this more than stable framework at the L.A. Phil, tasking the remaining Seattle Symphony leadership with finding his replacement amid an already monumental change in music directors; Thomas Dausgaard will succeed Ludovic Morlot at the beginning of the Seattle Symphony’s 2019–2020 season.

Woods expressed optimism for the Seattle Symphony’s future in light of his imminent departure, reassuring us that “this is an organization that knows what it stands for, knows where it’s headed, and knows how to get there.”

Peter Feher is an editor at SFCV. He can be reached at [email protected].