American conductor Edwin Outwater is equally adept at interpreting canonical masterworks, premiering new commissions, and connecting audiences with repertoire beyond the mainstream. His recent projects include Sound Health — a collaboration with soprano Renée Fleming, The Kennedy Center, and the National Institutes of Health — and a jazz version of Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also appeared with Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall in a concert for families featuring a World Premiere by Caroline Shaw, narrated by actor John Lithgow. This season, Chicago was introduced to The Line-Up, an outdoor concert series Mr. Outwater created and curated at Gallagher Way (adjacent to Wrigley Field), which combines multi-genre music performances with the technology and capabilities of major-league sports.
Edwin Outwater served as music director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony from 2006 to 2017, and was subsequently named the orchestra’s music director laureate. As music director he revitalized the orchestra with recordings, tours, and collaborations with artists, scientists, chefs, and musicians across all genres. From 2014 to 2017 he was director of Summer Concerts of the San Francisco Symphony and helped launch its groundbreaking SoundBox series.
Mr. Outwater’s recent debuts include Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Nagoya Philharmonic, and the Pacific Music Festival, as well as return engagements with the Chicago, San Francisco, Utah, and Tokyo Metropolitan symphony orchestras, among others. Mr. Outwater has also conducted the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, as well as the Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, New World, and Seattle symphony orchestras. In Canada he has led the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and many others. International appearances include the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, BBCNOW, Brussels Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, and the Mexico City Philharmonic orchestras.
A native of Santa Monica, California, Edwin Outwater graduated cum laude 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 production of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He received his master’s in conducting from the University of California, Santa Barbara, studying with Heiichiro Ohyama and Paul Polivnick, in addition to studying music theory and composition with John Stewart, Joel Feigin, and Leonard Stein.