Edwin Outwater

Conductor, Producer, Curator

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, ranging 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.”

From September 2024, Edwin Outwater will hold the position of Principal Guest Conductor and Curator of BBC Concert Orchestra, alongside his work as Music Director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, overseeing their 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 2007-2017, bringing the orchestra to international acclaim with tours and 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 MacDonald and Christian McBride, and Common.

Last season, Outwater returned to the BBC Proms with the BBC Concert Orchestra in their highly acclaimed Northern Soul concert. He made his Proms debut in 2022 alongside Cynthia Erivo. Other international appearances include the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, Nagoya Philharmonic, BBCNOW, the Brussels Philharmonic, the New Zealand Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Malmö Symphony, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, and 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 the Stewart Copeland’s Police Deranged for Orchestra concerts conducting orchestras such as San Diego Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Utah Symphony Orchestra. In October 2022, Outwater premiered his newest production, Symphony of Terror, with the Vancouver SymphonyOrchestra and co-host and collaborator Peaches Christ; in December 2022, he premiered A Christmas Gaiety at the Royal Albert Hall with Peaches Christ and BBC Concert Orchestra, featuring prominent guest stars from the world of drag, pop and musical theatre. They return this season.   

Edwin Outwater holds a long association with the 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 drag performer Peaches Christ. Previously, Outwater was San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor, Director of Summer Concerts and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

In 2022 Outwater featured in several prominent recordings. He conducted the Chicago Symphony in 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 features prominently in Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s solo debut EP, Portals, as co-songwriter, arranger, orchestrator and keyboardist.

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 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.

2023/24 season only. Please contact Polyarts if you wish to edit this biography.

Photo Credit: SFCM (top), Sean Puckett (right)