Seth Parker Woods

"a cellist of power and grace” —The Guardian
with an out-of-focus branch in the foreground, a young black man with wire-rimmed and a short beard wraps his arms around his cello

Hailed by The Guardian as “a cellist of power and grace” who possesses “mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink,” two-time GRAMMY®-nominated cellist Seth Parker Woods has established his reputation as a versatile artist and innovator across multiple genres. Woods’ projects delve deep into our cultural fabric, reimagining traditional works and commissioning new ones to propel classical music into the future. As The New York Times wrote, “Woods is an artist rooted in classical music, but whose cello is a vehicle that takes him, and his concertgoers, on wide-ranging journeys.” Also at the forefront of fashion, Woods has topped “Best Dressed” lists in Variety, Texas Monthly, and the OC Register, among others. He is an honoree of the 2023 Seattle Symphony’s 25th Anniversary Silver Gala and recipient of the 2022 Chamber Music America Michael Jaffee Visionary Award.

During the 2023-2024 season, Woods brings his GRAMMY®-nominated, autobiographical tour-de-force Difficult Grace – described as “a feast for the ears, eyes and mind” (The New York Times) – to San Diego and Philadelphia. In addition, Woods performs the Boston premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s UBIQUE at Harvard University and appears with GRAMMY Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn at Germany’s Konzerthaus Dortmund. With American Modern Opera Company, Woods tours a new version of John Adams’ El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered. Among several projects with Chamber Music Detroit, he appears in two Ohio performances of Fallen Petals, a program inspired by stories of juvenile offenders serving life in prison. Other engagements bring him to the Chicago Humanities Festival, Illumina Festival in Brazil, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston and on tour with USC to Montreal. Woods also serves as a panelist for the 2024 Sphinx Competition.

Woods’ 2022-2023 season brought breakout performances Difficult Grace with choreographer Roderick George, premiering at 92NY followed by performances at UCLA and Chicago’s Harris Theater. Difficult Grace was released as an album on Cedille Records in 2023. Woods also performed on the soundtrack of the PBS documentary The U.S. and the Holocaust. In addition to solo performances, Woods has appeared with the Atlanta and Seattle Symphonies, in chamber music with Hilary Hahn and pianist Andreas Haefliger, and with European ensembles including ICTUS Ensemble, Ensemble L’Arsenale, zone Experimental, Basel Sinfonietta, AND Ensemble LPR. A fierce advocate for contemporary arts, Woods has collaborated with a wide range of artists representing the classical, popular music, and visual art worlds. He was nominated for a 2023 Grammy Award as a member of celebrated
new music ensemble Wild Up.

In recent years, Woods has appeared in concert at the Royal Albert Hall – BBC Proms, Aspen Music Festival, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Wallis Annenberg Center, Das Haus (Brussels), and Musée d’art Moderne
et Contemporain (Strasbourg), among many other venues. Woods’ debut solo album, asinglewordisnotenough (Confront Recordings-London), has garnered great acclaim since its release in November 2016.

Woods serves on the faculty of the Thornton School of Music at The University of Southern California. He holds degrees from Brooklyn College, Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel, and a PhD from the University of Huddersfield. He previously served as Artist in Residence with the Kaufman Music Center and the Seattle Symphony.