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Crispin Woodhead

Chief Executive, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

strand: arts, culture & music


Born in 1971, Crispin Woodhead attended Manchester Grammar School and later studied modern languages (French and German) as organ scholar at Pembroke College, Oxford.


He then joined the Royal Northern College of Music as postgraduate pianist, subsequently becoming junior fellow in keyboard studies and lecturer. In 1998 he co-founded, the largest independent UK internet service for music teachers and in 1999 he founded Phoenix Arts Management, representing opera singers and conductors.


In 2002 he taught at Rugby School where he was appointed Head of Modern Languages and was Assistant Housemaster. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning period orchestra, Arcangelo with cellist Jonathan Cohen, before joining the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) in 2015.


With the OAE, he has toured the major concerts halls of the world and achieved critical acclaim in a series of landmark projects at home and overseas e.g. Agrippina (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), St John Passion (Simon Rattle, Peter Sellars), Brahms Piano Concerti (Sir András Schiff) (first period instrument recording).


In September 2020, the OAE, in a ground-breaking private –public sector agreement, was the first UK orchestra to take up a full time school residency at Acland Burghley Comprehensive School, North London and in the same year became the first orchestra to launch its own dedicated digital channel, OAE Player, achieving 5 stars (Telegraph) for its in-house production of the St John Passion with cult rock director, Grant Gee. In 2021 he was voted Orchestra Manager of the Year by the Association of British Orchestras.

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