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Edwin Outwater

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A truly visionary conductor, curator, and producer, Edwin Outwater regularly works with the world’s top orchestras, institutions, and artists to reinvent the concert experience. His effortless ability to cross genres has led to collaborations with a wide range of artists from Metallica to Wynton Marsalis, Renée Fleming, and Yo-Yo Ma. He is, in the words of his mentor Michael Tilson Thomas, “one of the most innovative conductors on the scene today.”

Outwater is music director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, overseeing its ensembles as well as shaping the artistic initiatives of this dynamic institution as a whole. He is also music director laureate of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony which he led from 2007-17, during which time he brought the orchestra to international acclaim with tours, collaborative projects, and a critically-praised recording, "From Here On Out."

Recent appearances include performances with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and New World Symphony as well as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a multi-concert series opening the Steinmetz Hall in Florida. As a producer and musical advisor for the National Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Concert at the Kennedy Center, he collaborated with a cast of artists including Audra McDonald, Christian McBride, and Common.

In 2023 Outwater returned to the BBC Proms with the BBC Concert Orchestra in its highly-acclaimed Northern Soul concert. He made his Proms debut in 2022 alongside Cynthia Erivo. Other international appearances include with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Brussels Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Malmö SymfoniOrkester, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. In Canada, he has led the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the symphonies of Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg.

Since the 2021 Season, Outwater has been the main conductor for Stewart Copeland’s The Police Deranged for Orchestra concerts, conducting orchestras such as the San Diego Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Utah Symphony.

In October 2022, Outwater premiered his newest production, Symphony of Terror, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and drag performer Peaches Christ as co-host and collaborator. In December 2022, he premiered A Christmas Gaiety at the Royal Albert Hall, also with Peaches Christ and the BBC Concert Orchestra, featuring prominent guest stars from the world of drag, pop, and musical theatre. They returned again in the 2023-24 season.

Outwater holds a long association with San Francisco Symphony. The 2022-23 season included subscription appearances with the orchestra and performances with Seth McFarlane. Last season also included the fifth annual performance of Holiday Gaiety, an LGBTQ+ holiday concert he created with Peaches Christ. Previously, Outwater was San Francisco Symphony resident conductor, director of summer concerts and music director of San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

In 2022 Outwater featured in several prominent recordings. He conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in its Grammy-winning Sony Classical release of Mason Bates’s Philharmonia Fantastique. He was also associate conductor for the Sony Classical release "A Gathering of Friends," with John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma, and the New York Philharmonic. He featured prominently in Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s solo debut EP, "Portals," as co-songwriter, arranger, orchestrator, and keyboardist.

A native of Santa Monica, California, Outwater graduated cum laude with a degree in English literature from Harvard University, where he was music director of the Bach Society Orchestra and the a cappella group Harvard Din and Tonics, and wrote the music for the 145th annual Hasty Pudding Theatricals production. He received his degree in conducting from UC Santa Barbara, where he studied with Heiichiro Ohyama and Paul Polivnick, beside studying music theory and composition with John Stewart, Joel Feigin, and Leonard Stein.

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