Bachelor with honors, Cambridge University, 1959. Master of Arts, Cambridge University, 1963. Licentiate, Guildhall School Music, 1960.
He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1961 and was Head of Music from 1963 to 1998. He was Artistic Director of the Cambridge Festival from 1986 to 1991. In 1995 he was a founder director of the English Music Festival which became the Stratford on Avon Music Festival.
. He was the Chairman of the Denne Gilkes Memorial Fund, a charity which supports young musicians and actors. Woolfenden married Jane Aldrick in 1962 and they have three sons. Woolfenden has conducted three productions with the Scottish Opera, as well as the first British productions of Nielsen's Saul and David, Tchaikovsky's Maid of Orleans and Liszt's Don Sanche.
Chairman Denne Gilkes Memorial Fund, since 1985. Member Association Professional Composers, Perfoming Right Society, Composer's Guild Great Britain, Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, Musician's Union, Inc. Society Musicians, National Band Association, British Association Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles, World Association Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.
Married Jane Aldrick, September 29, 1962. Children: Richard, Stephen, James.