Artistic Direction

Artistic Director / Conductor Carlton R. Woods

Carlton Woods

Carlton Woods

Carlton R. Woods is founder and Artistic Director of the BlueWater Chamber Orchestra.

Before relocating to the Cleveland area, Mr. Woods held a joint position as Artistic Director/Conductor of the Midland (MI) Symphony Orchestra and Director of Orchestral Studies at Central Michigan University.

His past positions have included orchestras and festivals in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Kansas. Guest conducting has seen him on podiums in Poland, Belgium, England, Russia, Canada, South America as well as numerous locations in the United States. Most recently he conducted a concert for the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra in Northern Michigan and the Suburban Symphony Orchestra in Cleveland.

Woods has collaborated with numerous performing artists and composers including Itzhak Perlman, Sarah Chang, Mark O’Connor, Pascal Roge, Ewa Podles, John O’Conor, Dave Brubeck, James McCracken, Eugenia Zuckerman, the Juilliard String Quartet, John Corigliano, George Crumb, Libby Larsen, and Donald Erb.

Woods most recently held a joint position as Artistic Director/Conductor of the Midland Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and Director of Orchestral Studies at Central Michigan University (CMU).

During his tenure with the MSO, Maestro Woods brought the ensemble state recognition for its high quality performances and creative programming. In addition, the MSO expanded its performances to include annual chamber orchestra concerts, an outdoor Fourth of July concert, run-out concerts throughout the state, special events such as its Halloween concert, and live broadcasts on public radio. Upon his departure from MSO, he was named Conductor Emeritus.

During his tenure at CMU, the orchestra program grew to become a major ensemble at the institution. The Orchestra gave seven concerts a year including a yearly opera, a major choral work, a concerto-aria competition program, and a children’s program for 4th grade students in the Mt. Pleasant area.

Maestro Woods’ past appointments have included orchestras in Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Arkansas. As music director/conductor of the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Music Festival of Arkansas, he developed ensembles that received national attention in the press and on National Public Radio. In constant demand as a guest conductor, he has been on podiums of orchestras throughout the United States, Poland, Belgium, England, Russia, Canada, and South America. Dr. Woods is a frequent guest conductor for all state orchestras throughout the country.


Associate Artistic Director / Conductor Neil Mueller

Neil Mueller

Neil Mueller

Neil Mueller enjoys a varied career as a performing and teaching musician. In his role as BlueWater’s Associate Conductor, has conducted concerts of theater music from the Royal Shakespeare Company in collaboration with actors Dorothy Silver and Tom Fulton as well as a baroque inspired program featuring harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper.

As a trumpeter, he has performed concerti with the Boston Pops, Berkshire Bach Ensemble and the Boston University Symphony, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestras, in addition to BlueWater.

Mueller has been an active chamber musician and, as first trumpet with the Brass Ring quintet, he concertized extensively in the United States, toured Italy and appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Brass Ring actively commissioned many new works for brass quintet.

As a free-lance performer, Mueller has appeared with ensembles such as the Canton Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Burning River Brass, the Bronx Arts Ensemble and the Hot Jazz Seven at a wide array of venues: from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; from Cleveland’s Severance Hall to the Barking Spider Tavern. Previously, he has taught students at North Dakota State University, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, University of New Hampshire and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute.