Edwin Outwater is in his ninth season as Music Director of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, is Director of Summer Concerts at the San Francisco Symphony, and regularly guest conducts the Chicago and New World Symphonies. Equally at home interpreting canonical masterworks, premiering new works, and creating truly innovative, audience-building programming initiatives, the American conductor is, as San Francisco Classical Voice recently observed, “headed for a top-tier future.”
In the United States, Outwater has conducted the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Baltimore, Houston, Detroit, Indianapolis Seattle, Phoenix, North Carolina, Milwaukee, Alabama, the New World Symphony, and many others. In Canada, he has conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as the symphonies of Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Victoria. International appearances include the Tokyo Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the New Zealand Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony, the Malmö Symphony, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. He has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Evelyn Glennie, and many others.
In 2009, he made his professional opera debut with the San Francisco Opera conducting Verdi’s La Traviata, and he has since conducted Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires with concert:nova Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Opera, as well as Menotti’s one-act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors at New York’s Lincoln Center. He participated as Associate Conductor in both YouTube Symphony projects, at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
Outwater was Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony from 2001-2006. While there, he worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas, accompanying the orchestra on tour and conducting numerous concerts each season. From 2001-2005, Outwater was Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. During his tenure, he led the orchestra in all of their concerts as well as on tour through Europe in summer 2004, when the orchestra made its debut at Vienna’s Musikverein and Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and returned to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Before joining the San Francisco Symphony, Outwater served as Resident Conductor and Associate Guest Conductor of the Florida Philharmonic. He has held posts as Associate Conductor of the Festival-Institute at Round Top in Texas, Principal Conductor of the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in Molise, Italy, and Assistant Conductor of the Tulsa Philharmonic.
Outwater’s work in music education and community outreach has been widely celebrated. In 2004, his education programs at the San Francisco Symphony were given the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, and his Chinese New Year Program was given the MET LIFE award for community outreach. In Kitchener-Waterloo, Outwater redesigned the orchestra’s education series and initiated myriad community connections. In Florida, Outwater designed the Florida Philharmonic Family Series and its Music for Youth program. He appears frequently with training orchestras and music festivals throughout the United States and across the world, including the New World Symphony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the National Music Camp of Australia, the National Youth Orchestra of New Zealand, the Music Academy of the West, the National Orchestral Institute, the Festival-Institute at Round Top, and New York’s Mannes Conservatory Orchestra. Outwater has served as music director of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and on the faculties of the University of Tulsa, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and University of California, Santa Barbara.
A native of Santa Monica, California, Edwin Outwater attended Harvard University, graduating cum laude in 1993 with a degree in English literature. While at Harvard, he was music director of the Bach Society Orchestra and the Harvard Din and Tonics (an acclaimed a cappella group), and wrote the music for the 145th annual production of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He received his master’s degree in conducting from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied with Heiichiro Ohyama and Paul Polivinick. He also studied music theory and composition with John Stewart, Joel Feigin, and Leonard Stein.