Naomi Woo, First Female Music Director of NYO Canada


Breaking Barriers: Naomi Woo Named First Female Music Director of NYO Canada

NYO Canada proudly appoints Naomi Woo as Music Director for its 2024/2025 seasons, marking a historic milestone.

Toronto, [2023/12/06] – The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) is thrilled to announce the groundbreaking appointment of Naomi Woo as the first female Music Director for its 2024/2025 seasons.

Naomi is a bilingual conductor who collaborates with every major orchestra in Canada, including guest conducting engagements with the Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, and Regina Symphony. Working closely with her mentor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, she joins the Orchestre Metropolitan as Artistic Partner for the 2023/24 season and the Philadelphia Orchestra as Assistant Conductor for the 2024/25 season.

As a rising star on the conducting scene and the historic first female Music Director in our organization’s history, Naomi Woo is perfectly poised to mentor NYO Canada’s young musicians. This barrier-shattering collaboration highlights the progress toward gender equality in the classical music sphere, a field traditionally dominated by men.

“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. 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,” remarks NYO Canada CEO, Christie Gray.

 Naomi Woo, a name to watch for professional orchestras across North America and Internationally, takes up the baton to lead NYO Canada as its newest Music Director. Along with her four-year tenure as the Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the inaugural Music Director of Sistema Winnipeg, Woo served as the Music Director of the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra until 2023. A celebrated Canadian conductor, Woo’s impactful career includes prestigious accolades such as the 2022 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. 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,” said Naomi Woo – NYO Canada 2024/25 Music Director

The National Youth Orchestra of Canada, known for providing a transformative summer experience, is eager to see Woo lead the 2024 orchestra and shape the future of orchestral music in Canada.

NYO’s 2024 Horizon’s Tour includes performances in the following cities:

  • Thursday July 18th – Kingston, ON
  • Friday July 19th –Toronto, ON
  • Saturday July 20th – Parry Sound, ON
  • Tuesday July 23rd – Winnipeg, MB
  • Thursday July 25th – Saskatoon, SK
  • Saturday July 27th – Edmonton, AB
  • Monday July 29th – Banff, AB
  • Wednesday July 31st – Calgary, AB

Repertoire and featured artists will include:

  • Béla Bartók – Concerto for Orchestra⁠
  • Lili Boulanger – D’un matin de printemps⁠
  • Paul Hindemith – Symphonic Metamorphosis⁠ of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber⁠
  • Maurice Ravel – La valse⁠
  • Danial Sheibani – NYO Canada Commission⁠
  • Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
  • Errollyn Wallen – Mighty River⁠

NYO Canada is currently accepting applications for the 2024 Orchestra at The deadline for application is February 1st, 2024

For media inquiries regarding this or any related matter, Christie Gray is available for comments and interviews.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Emily Dunbar – Communications and Marketing
NYO Canada
416-532-4470 ext. 225

For media inquiries regarding this or any related matter, Naomi Woo is available for comments and interviews.

For inquiries regarding Naomi Woo, please contact:  
Martin Wittenberg, DMA
Founder, Wittenberg Artists
+1 719 200 6426

About NYO Canada:

NYO Canada is the nation’s premier training ground for young classical musicians, offering an immersive and transformative program that prepares them for distinguished careers as professional orchestral musicians.

Under the mentorship of our esteemed faculty—comprising world-renowned musicians and educators—orchestra members engage in transformative experiences such as the NYO Canada Chamberfest and Orchestral Training Institute. This immersive program includes a recording session and a concert tour featuring performances in Canada’s most prestigious concert halls.

Functioning as the vital link between music education and a thriving musical career, NYO Canada envisions launching the next generation of Canadian orchestral musicians. Committed to providing a comprehensive, tuition-free program that cultivates a diverse set of skills and experiences, each orchestra member is awarded a personal scholarship, generously sponsored by our dedicated supporters.

 NYO Canada actively supports and promotes Canadian emerging composers and artists, contributing to the growth of classical music appreciation across the nation.

NYO Canada expresses sincere gratitude to the Government of Canada, Ontario Arts Council, and our extensive network of donors whose support makes our vision a reality.

About Naomi Woo:

Canadian conductor and pianist Naomi Woo is a highly sought-after symphonic and operatic conductor, as well as an esteemed educator. Following a successful four-year tenure as Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, she embarks on a new chapter as the Artistic Partner of the Orchestre Métropolitain Montréal. 

Starting in the 2023-24 season, she was hand-selected by her mentor Yannick Nézet-Séguin as a participant in the Orchestre Métropolitain’s inaugural orchestral conducting academy, and as Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 24/25.

Naomi’s remarkable 23-24 season highlights include conducting engagements with esteemed orchestras such as Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the National Arts Center Orchestra. She makes two appearances with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, where she is a music director finalist, and led an extensive tour of England, leading English Touring Opera’s Cinderella.

In previous seasons, Naomi has conducted with orchestras like the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Ann Arbor Symphony, Orchestra NOW (New York), Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Regina Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Thunder Bay Symphony. 

Naomi holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She has also pursued mathematics, philosophy, and music studies at Yale College, the Yale School of Music, and Université de Montréal.