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Tony Woodcock
Trained as a violinist, British-born Tony Woodcock came to New England Conservatory as its President in June 2007 after a career as an orchestra manager. Widely respected for revitalizing the financial performance and artistic leadership of symphony orchestras in England and the United States, he switched gears to take his first higher education position with NEC.

From the earliest days of his tenure, he set in motion an ambitious program, including: creating a new Strategic Plan, successfully completing a $100 million capital campaign with a final total of $115 million, initiating a $20 million deferred maintenance construction program, developing a transformative campus redevelopment plan which broke ground in May 2015, introducing cutting edge programs like Entrepreneurial Musicianship and the Sistema Fellows program, and reinvigorating the Orchestra, Opera, and Artist Diploma programs. In recognition of his accomplishments and wide-ranging progressive program, the NEC Board of Trustees voted in April 2012 to extend his contract for an additional five years. If you'd like to read more of Tony Woodcock's thoughts on arts and education, check out his blog at .

Entries by Tony Woodcock

Commencement Into This New World

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 5:34 PM

2015-05-15-1431707088-276241-Commencementgraduatesback.jpgMay is the season of Commencements and as New England Conservatory and other schools of music prepare to graduate a new class of wonderfully gifted, creative, and idealistic young musicians, one can't help but contemplate the world in which they will make...

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The Death of Liberal Arts? Or the Reunion of Broken Parts

(4) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 3:05 PM

2015-04-24-1429896892-5801893-FareedZakaria300px.jpgMany of us have seen Fareed Zakaria on CNN hosting his own program focused on international affairs. His style of journalism and reporting is penetrating, analytical and smacks of an intelligence that seems all too rare on TV these days....

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Ran Blake and Film Noir

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 11:53 AM

2015-04-07-1428440338-7806260-Ran250px.jpgRan Blake was over at our house for dinner a while back, and at the end of the evening he asked me to show part of any movie that I considered extraordinary. I chose something contemporary, Melancholia, directed...

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Benjamin Franklin and the Reflective Conservatoire

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 8:27 AM

I recently heard a mordantly humorous new take on Benjamin Franklin's most famous quote: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and the immutability of conservatoires." I was at a major...

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Why Does London Need a New Concert Hall?

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 3:33 PM

2015-02-17-Rattle_BPHRittershaus2_Wi.jpgThere is a debate raging in London surrounding Sir Simon Rattle's apparent stipulation that he will only consider the London Symphony Orchestra's invitation to become their new Principal Conductor if the City fathers build him a new concert hall to replace the...

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St. Valentine and the Meaning of Life

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 12:02 PM

Washington Irving (1783-1859) was the wonderful American author and U.S. Ambassador to Spain, who rediscovered the Alhambra in Granada, with which my wife, Virginia, and I fell in love during our visit in the summer of 2013. Irving's book, "Tales from the Alhambra," generated such interest in the 1800s that...

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Brains and Bottoms

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 11:49 AM

2015-02-05-Philharmonieexterior300px.jpgParis has a new, state-of-the-art concert hall, something the French have been waiting for since they dispatched Louis XVI in 1793, thus making possible government- funded arts venues for the people. It's called the "Philhamonie de Paris." Not the most inventive of...

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Bitcoin and Proust or "À la recherche de l'argent perdu."

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 10:26 AM

2015-01-20-Bitcoin300px.jpgWe have probably all come across that word BITCOIN and not given it much thought. Or perhaps we have. It's pretty interesting as a modern financial phenomenon. My take on it is that it was created as a reaction against...

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Manhattan Medicis

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 9:55 PM

2015-01-07-AnnMoore.jpgAnn Moore must be considered one of the most successful women to have worked in Corporate America. She was the first woman CEO of Time Inc. and served as Chairman and CEO from 2002 to 2010. During this period she was recognized...

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2014 Top 20 Picks

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 2:20 PM

Each year I survey what I have seen and experienced in the past 12 months and, after much soul searching and difficult internal debate, come up with my top 20 picks. (Plus two alternates!) Here is the list for 2014:


1. All is Lost
Directed by J.C. Chandor...

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The Struggle of Harmony and Invention

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 4:36 PM

Timed for Halloween, with its period instrument musicians sporting masks and witches hats, and a program featuring Tartini's Devil's Trill, the Handel and Haydn Society (known affectionately as H+H) kicked off its Bicentennial season with great festivity last week. The undisputed star of the evening was the amazing violinist Aisslinn...

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What It Means to be an Artist

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 1:46 PM

One of my great discoveries this past summer was a debut novel by a young writer from Bangladesh, Zia Haider Rahman, called In The Light of What We Know. I adore first novels as they are often an...

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How to Be Successful Using Great Communication Skills

(1) Comments | Posted October 17, 2014 | 10:44 AM

2014-10-16-lorrieheagykiddrum.jpgI have often found it's the small asides at meetings, gatherings, or discussions that contain some of the richest nuggets of information. It's rather like footnotes in a novel that take the reader exploring some new pathway of thoughts. Just a few...

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The Baton and the Jackboot - Then and Now

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2014 | 1:09 PM

Have you ever played that game about which famous characters you would love to be seated next to at a dinner party? For some, it might be Homer or Shakespeare or Abe Lincoln. My choice has varied over the years. Sometimes it's historical -- Brutus, for instance; other times, it's...

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Who Do We Perform For?

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 12:02 AM

Every September at New England Conservatory, we kick off the new academic year with an all-school assembly we call "Convocation." This week, in my brief cheerleading moment, I counseled our young musicians to not only delve deeper internally--that is, into music's expressive world and their own creative response to it,...

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Musicians in Flight

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 8:10 AM

New England Conservatory's Entrepreneurial Musicianship department is dedicated to equipping students with the skills they will need to create gratifying musical (and non-musical) lives for themselves in the professional world. Students have the opportunity to create and execute new projects through the EM Grant program--a funding pool for...

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The Ever-present Past

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 2:05 PM

"The past is never dead. It's not even past." -- William Faulkner

2014-04-23-William_Faulkner200px.jpgFaulkner's truism from his strange novel/play, Requiem for a Nun, is one of my favorite lines and has been much quoted. Presidential candidate Barack Obama used a paraphrase of it...

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Musical Treasures of D.C.

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 12:32 PM

The cultural riches of Washington D.C. have been a recent discovery for my family and me despite having visited the Capital on numerous occasions. My past trips have always been in a rush, either on a major orchestral tour, or on other business, and, for some reason, always centered on...

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Truth to Power

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 5:38 PM


The other night I heard a work that I had not come across for many years. It was a big symphonic piece that lasts about 30 minutes by the German composer Paul Hindemith called Mathias the Painter. (David Loebel conducting the...

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Count to 9

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 2:09 PM

2014-02-26-Beethoven9Hugh.jpgHave you ever been knocked sideways by a performance of a work that you know really well? In fact, so well, that you have approached past performances more as duty rather than a pleasure. It happened to me recently with the Beethoven...

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