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Composer Collaborations

An interpreter equally at home with the classical repertoire and contemporary composition, Edwin Outwater has been a collaborator with some of the most innovative composers in today’s classical music scene. From his critically acclaimed album with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (KWS) From Here On Out, featuring the music of Nico Muhly, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, to his premiere of Mason Bates’ Carbide & Carbon with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for its MusicNOW series, Outwater is in-demand as a conductor of modern works with the world’s top ensembles and as a cultivator of programs spotlighting contemporary composition. His “Intersections” series with the KWS has included groundbreaking concerts presenting the music of Dan Deacon, who turns the classical concert experience and audience expectation on its head, and Nicole Lizée, whose 2012: Concerto for Power Trio and Orchestra (Fantasia on Themes by Rush) translates music by the legendary progressive rock band to the symphony orchestra. He continues to develop inventive programs and opportunities for today’s best composers and musicians.


Nico Muhly
Collaborative Concerts: Kitchener-Waterloo, Koerner Hall, Toronto, Milwaukee Symphony
Performances of Nico’s Music: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony,  Phoenix Symphony, Alabama Symphony

Edwin and Nico co-host a concert exploring Nico’s influences, which range from Purcell and Byrd to Glass and Nyman, his own music, and special guests.  Previous guests have included Richard Reed Parry from Arcade Fire, who composed music specifically for the concert.

Edwin and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony were also the lead commissioner of Nico’s orchestral work So Far So Good. Music from these collaborations appeared on Edwin’s first CD with the KWS, From Here On Out.

Edwin is the ideal collaborator for a composer.  He knows the strange, sometimes equestrian in nature doublespeak required to translate an idea from score to page to stand, and is a wonderful interpreter as well as advocate and emissary.  His reading of contemporary, fresh-off-the-presses music is a complement to his reading of the standard orchestral rep.”  – Nico Muhly


Mason Bates
Collaborative Concerts: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Casa da Musica (Porto, Portugal)
Performances of Mason’s Music: San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Tucson Symphony.

Edwin and Mason Bates presents a concert exploring the intersection of acoustic and electronic sound.  Mason’s own music is featured, and he curates and guides the audience through related music by Aphex Twin, Jonny Greenwood, and more.  These concerts often include an afterparty and DJ Set.  Portions of this collaborative concert appeared on Edwin’s First CD with the KWS, From Here On Out. (Slate.com)

Edwin has the special ability of presenting astonishingly provocative programming in a fun and imaginative way.  His omnivorous stylistic appetite, combined with his skills on the podium, remind me of his mentor Michael Tilson Thomas.  Our field is lucky to have such a gifted conductor and communicator.” – Mason Bates


Nathaniel Stookey
Collaborative Concerts: San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Edwin conducted the world premiere and recording of “The Composer is Dead” with the San Francisco Symphony, which has become one of the most performed orchestral works written in the 21st Century.  Together, they shaped the concert that features this piece.

I love working with Edwin.  He has a knack for choosing projects that are both exciting for the musicians and mind-opening for the audience.  His concerts are cool, fun, and edgy — always pushing the limits of what the orchestra can do. If you think new music is pedantic and dull, you’ve got another thing coming.” -Nathaniel Stookey


Nicole Lizée
Collaborative Concerts: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Koerner Hall Toronto, San Francisco Symphony (upcoming)

Edwin and Nicole Lizée present a concert about Prog Rock, featuring classical and contemporary music.  Edwin and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony commissioned 2012: Triple Concerto for Power Trio and Orchestra (Fantasia on Themes by Rush) which will be featured in the upcoming CD Live from Koerner Hall.

Working with Edwin is a composer’s dream. One can think up crazy projects and he gives you the green light to make it happen with complete commitment, ambition, passion and serious chops. I could think up 2 or 3 projects every week and know that in each case Edwin would be the perfect collaborator and facilitator for these often insane visions.” – Nicole Lizée


Dan Deacon
Collaborative Concerts: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Koerner Hall Toronto
Edwin and Dan Deacon create an extraordinary evening featuring a wide variety of music by Dan Deacon and composers who influenced him (Raymond Scott, Moondog, Fluxus composers).  Edwin and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony commissioned The Fiddlenist Rim and Song of the Winter Solstice, which will both be featured on their upcoming CD, Live from Koerner Hall.  Edwin arranged Dan Deacon’s song “Pink Batman” for orchestra.

Edwin has been an amazing figure in my musical life.  His attitude, approach and style make me feel just as comfortable as I do at a house party as when I’m with him in a concert hall.” -Dan Deacon


Sarah Kirkland Snider
Collaborative Concerts: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony
Edwin performed Sarah’s acclaimed song cycle, Penelope, with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony.  He is the conductor for her upcoming song cycle, Unremembered, which will be released by New Amsterdam Records in 2014.

Edwin is a master craftsman. He is exacting, precise, and tenacious, working with supreme intelligence and economy to bring a score to life with vivid detail and nuanced expression. I was so stunned by the rapidity with which he conjured a sharply etched, deeply felt performance of my song cycle Penelope that when it came time to plan the recording session for my orchestral song cycle, Unremembered, I immediately wrote and asked him to conduct it — even before I’d determined the ensemble. Working with Edwin is a true joy and pleasure. It is not often that a composer feels she can relax in an orchestral rehearsal, knowing not just that every detail of the score will be attended to but that superior sensitivity and intuition will inform all those aspects of interpretation that elude notation. I hope I have the opportunity to work with him again and again.” – Sarah Kirkland Snyder


Gabriela Lena Frank
Collaborative Concerts: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony
Performances of Gabriela’s music: San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony

Edwin and Gabriela guide the audience through different currents of Latin American music, featuring her own music as well as music by Piazzolla, Golijov, and Ginastera.  Gabriela shares slides and stories of her travels in Latin America, exploring and recording indigenous sounds.  Edwin conducted the world premiere of Gabriela’s work “Holy Sisters” on short notice (San Jose Mercury News)

I am one of those lucky composers who have had the outstanding privilege of working with the dynamo Edwin.  His imagination as an artistic partner bringing my ideas to life, often rooted in unfamiliar cultural idioms, is matched only by his own superior prowess at the conductor’s craft.  One must add to this Edwin’s penchant for cultivating sheer FUN in his concerts, a highly underrated attribute but for which we would lose our audiences.  I cannot recommend my dear partner-in-crime enough!”  – Gabriela Lena Frank