November 30, 2022, Ann Arbor, MI (from Wittenberg Artists press release) — Canadian conductor Naomi Woo has been awarded the 2022 Virginia Parker Prize. Woo joins the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in 2023 to conduct the orchestra’s annual Link Up youth concert at Hill Auditorium.
The $25,000 Virginia Parker Prize is awarded annually to a musician, instrumentalist or classical music conductor under the age of 32 who demonstrates outstanding talent, musicianship and artistic excellence and who makes a valuable contribution to artistic life in Canada and internationally.
Previous recipients of the prize include Yannick Nézet-Séguin, James Ehnes, and Marc-André Hamelin. Naomi is only the fourth conductor – and the first female conductor – to receive the prize since its inception in 1984.
Priased by Schmopera for her “expertise and incredible precision”, Woo is currently Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and a member of Tapestry Opera’s Women in Musical Leadership program and the Orchestre Metropolitain Montreal’s inaugural conducting academy. Following debuts with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, and Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra in 2021-22, this season sees her debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestra NOW (New York), the Ann Arbor Symphony, and at LSO St. Luke’s with the ensemble Tangram Sound. On the opera stage, she conducts the Canadian premiere of Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angel’s Bone” in Vancouver, Ellis Ludwig-Leone’s The Night Falls in New York City, and assists at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
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.