Born in Akron, Ohio in 1952, he grew up listening to Black gospel music and rhythm and blues. Woods studied music formally at Akron University where he finished with a B.M. degree in composition. He went on to obtain two masters degrees from Indiana University. Woods received his doctorate degree in music composition at University of Oklahoma in 1991.
Woods also studied jazz arranging and film scoring at Berklee College of Music in Boston and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Arts Administration. As a composer, Woods was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has written over 500 pieces in all styles. His compositions have been performed by the Albany Symphony, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Little Rock Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Lafayette Symphony (Indiana), the Pro Musica Orchestra (Columbus, Indiana), the Central New York Jazz Orchestra, and the Salt City Jazz Collective.
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