Naomi Woo

Canadian conductor & pianist Naomi Woo is a widely sought-after symphonic and operatic conductor and educator and the Music Director of NYO Canada.

Canadian conductor & pianist Naomi Woo is a widely sought-after symphonic and operatic conductor and educator and the Music Director of NYO Canada. Beginning with the 23-24 season she is the Artistic Partner of Orchestre Métropolitain Montréal and joins the Philadelphia Orchestra as assistant conductor for the 24-25 season.

Highlights of her auspicious 23-24 season include her first tour and recordings with NYO Canada in summer 2024; conducting engagements with the Orchestre Métropolitain, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra; and an extensive tour of England leading English Touring Opera’s Cinderella. As an assistant/cover conductor Naomi works with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and Orchestre Métropolitain, and she conducts classical subscription concerts with the Illinois Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivières, Orchestre symphonique de la Côte-Nord, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Thunder Bay Symphony.

Engagements in previous seasons include the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Ann Arbor Symphony, Orchestra NOW (New York), Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and Regina Symphony, and her debut at LSO St. Luke’s in London with the ensemble Tangram Sound. Naomi was the assistant conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony from 2019 to 2023 and appeared with the orchestra on multiple occasions. On the opera stage, she has conducted the Canadian premiere of Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angel’s Bone in Vancouver and the world premiere of Ellis Ludwig-Leone’s The Night Falls in New York City. In fall 2022, she assisted the world premiere of Oliver Leith’s opera Last Days at Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

The 2022 winner of the Canada Council’s prestigious Virginia Parker Prize, Naomi is a member of Tapestry Opera’s Women in Musical Leadership program and was chosen by her mentor Yannick Nézet-Séguin as a member of the Orchestre Métropolitain’s inaugural orchestral conducting academy. She was a resident of the 2022 Women Opera Makers Workshop at the Festival Aix-en-Provence, and, in 2018, was accepted into the first training course for women conductors at the National Opera Studio, hosted by the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Royal Opera House.

As an opera conductor and music director, Naomi is remarkable for her collaborative approach and natural command for storytelling and language. She has conducted more than a dozen operas with students and young professionals in US and the UK, and collaboratively created new, genre-bending operatic works with Sasha Amaya and Catherine Kontz (A Certain Sense of Order, Tête à Tête Opera Festival 2017), Sophie Seita (Beethoven Was a Lesbian, Tête à Tête Opera Festival 2020), and Alex Ho/Julia Cheng (dramaturg for UNTOLD, Snape Maltings 2019).

Her passion for new work and artistic creation has also led to trainings and residencies at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse, the International Ensemble Modern Academy at Klangspuren Schwaz, Nida Art Colony (Vilnius Academy of the Arts), the Cortona Sessions for New Music, and more.

As a pianist, she has been a prize winner at the Eckhardt-Grammatté Competition for Canadian and Contemporary Music and winner of the Hélène Roberge Prize for Canadian Music. She is an artist with Tangram, an ensemble devoted to celebrating the vitality of Chinese cultures, and creating new music by transnational Chinese creators.

Also passionate about education, Naomi was Music Director of the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra until 2023 and has made guest conducting and lecturing appearances at Oberlin Conservatory and the Royal Academy of Music. As the first-ever music director of Sistema Winnipeg, a program that uses music as a tool for social change, a commitment to using music to imaginatively transform the world runs through all of her work, including her PhD thesis from the University of Cambridge, titled The Practicality of the Impossible.

Naomi holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She has also studied mathematics, philosophy, and music at Yale College, the Yale School of Music, and Université de Montréal. Her formative training before university took place at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She acknowledges generous support over the years from the Manitoba Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Help Musicians UK, and the BC Arts Council.