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Woodcock Receives Award of Merit

The British Society Honors NEC President at Annual Banquet

President Tony Woodcock to Receive The British Society’s Award of Merit, June 1, 2013

Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation Benefits New England Area Britons in Need

NEC President Tony Woodcock will receive The British Society’s Award of Merit in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the Boston community at a black tie dinner, June 1 at The Country Club.  The annual event is one of numerous fund-raising activities that support The Society’s philanthropic mission of aiding Britons in need. Previous award recipients, who must be British, have included Malcolm Rogers, the Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Founded in 1816, The Society—an all-volunteer organization—has for almost 200 years devoted itself to providing financial aid to British citizens living or traveling in the New England area. According to The Society’s promotional materials, its work supports “all sections of the community” and typically applies to people experiencing sudden or unexpected reverses. “Most people who apply to the Society for help have enjoyed a normal lifestyle, which becomes interrupted by illness or accident or some other disruption to family income. Within a very short space of time they find themselves in debt and then in crisis. Help may not be available from the State or applications may not be processed in time and often the family faces the prospect of eviction or shut off of utilities. The Society is often the last resource for aid.

“Funding of this mission is accomplished through donations and a range of high quality and highly entertaining events with a distinctly 'British' flavor, which appeal both to an increasingly diverse membership and to corporate sponsors and partners.”

Brought up in Wales and trained as a violinist, President Woodcock took over NEC’s top executive position in June 2007, after a career as an orchestra manager in both the UK and the United States. He maintains it’s “the best job in the world where any dream or spark of creativity can ignite.” 

Since coming to NEC, he has presided over the creation of a new Strategic Plan, the $20 million refurbishment of campus buildings, significant enhancement of the orchestral and opera programs, the creation of an Entrepreneurial Musicianship program, establishment of the El Sistema-inspired Sistema Fellows Program at NEC, completion of a $115 million capital campaign, and—perhaps most significantly for the future of the institution—the creation of a Campus Redevelopment Plan that will result in the opening of a new Student Life and Performance Center in 2017 to coincide with NEC’s 150th anniversary.

For more information on The Society, check the website.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Senior Communications Specialist
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115