Carlton R. Woods most recently held a joint position as Artistic Director/Conductor of the Midland Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and Director of Orchestral Studies at Central Michigan University (CMU). He has been named Conductor Emeritus upon his departure of the MSO in 2007. During his tenure with the MSO, Maestro Woods brought the ensemble state recognition for its high quality performances and creative programming. In addition, the MSO expanded its performances to include annual chamber orchestra concerts, an outdoor Fourth of July concert, run-out concerts throughout the state, special events such as its Halloween concert, and live broadcasts on public radio. In 2004 the MSO performed its first opera, Puccini’s Tosca. Its overwhelming success has afforded the opportunity of a 2006 performance of another great Puccini opera, La Boheme. Woods will return as a guest conductor for the April, 2008 performances of Puccini: Madame Butterfly. Maestro Woods gave regular public lectures featuring the music of the MSO season and oversaw the educational and outreach programs offered by the MSO.
During his tenure at CMU, the orchestra program grew to become a major ensemble at the institution. The Orchestra gave seven concerts a year including a yearly opera, a major choral work, a concerto-aria competition program, and a children’s program for 4th grade students in the Mt. Pleasant area.
Maestro Woods’ past appointments have included orchestras in Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Arkansas. As music director/conductor of the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Music Festival of Arkansas, he developed ensembles that received national attention in the press and on National Public Radio. In constant demand as a guest conductor, he has been on podiums of orchestras throughout the United States, Poland, Belgium, England, Russia, Canada, and South America. His recent return appearance with the Bardi Orchestra in Leicester, England resulted in reviews praising his musicianship and exciting interpretations. Dr. Woods is a frequent guest conductor for all state orchestras throughout the country.
Maestro Woods is a champion of new music, collaborating with John Corigliano, Stephen Paulus, George Crumb, Libby Larsen and Donald Erb. His recording of William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 3 received rave reviews from critics nationwide. He has also worked with world-renowned soloists including Itzhak Perlman, Edgar Meyer, Sarah Chang, Mark O’Connor, Nicole Benedetti, Philip Myers, Gary Hoffman, Richard Stoltzman, Ani Kavafian, Pascal Roge, Anne Akiko Meyers, Ewa Podles, Sharon Isbin, John O’Conor, Dave Brubeck, James McCracken, Eugenia Zuckerman and the Juilliard String Quartet.