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National Youth Orchestra of Canada Appoints First Female Conductor

Naomi Woo will step into the role for the 2024 and 2025 seasons


The Canadian conductor, pianist, and musicologist Naomi Woo has recently been named as the new Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and also becomes the first woman to serve in the post. She will lead the orchestra for its projects in 2024 and 2025.

Woo has served as the Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the inaugural Music Director of Sistema Winnipeg, as well as having been Music Director of the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra until 2023.

As a pianist, Woo made her debut with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra aged 13, playing Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto. Since then, she has performed widely throughout Canada and the United States, and made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2011. She is the recipient of the prestigious Canada Council for the Arts Virginia Parker Prize.

"I’m really excited for the musicians of NYO 2024 to come away from the experience feeling inspired, optimistic and positive about the future of classical music, the future of their place in the field, and the place of all their peers, colleagues and new friends," Woo said.

"And I also hope that, like I was at that age and continue to be, they come away completely addicted to the feeling of what it’s like to be a small part of something so much bigger than yourself; how the whole can be so much more than the sum of its parts."

"As NYO Canada embarked on the quest for its next musical director, Naomi Woo emerged as the foremost candidate to usher in the next era of young orchestral musicians and showcase their talents nationwide," said Christie Gray, the CEO of NYO Canada.

"We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with Naomi Woo, a historic appointment as the first female music director in our organization’s rich history. It is a privilege to work alongside her and benefit from her mentorship during the upcoming two summer sessions and tours, marking a significant chapter in NYO Canada’s musical journey."



The orchestra is presently accepting applications for its 2024 cycle; young Canadian musicians should apply here.

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