Edwin Outwater conducting SFCM's Orchestra
  1. Faculty

Edwin Outwater

SFCM Music Director; Conducting; SFCM Orchestra


  • Music Director, SFCM
  • Applied Lessons
  • Large Ensemble For Conductors


  • MM UC Santa Barbara
  • BA Harvard University

What is your hometown?

Santa Monica, CA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Words, art, the outdoors (especially the ocean)

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

" There is no tempo, only momentum!"

What was a turning point in your career?

When I was hired by Michael Tilson Thomas to be Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Writing comedy, which I do on occasion anyway

What is your unrealized project?

Writing a large, interdisciplinary work

What do you think makes a concert experience unique?

Anything that makes music sound and feel new qualifies: it could be other elements that recontextualize (lights, video), or it could simply be a brilliant performance of a standard work.

What are your most important collaborations?

Metallica - S&M2, Renée Fleming and the Kennedy Center - "Sound Health", The Institute for Quantum Computing - "Quantum: Music at the Frontier for Science"

What recordings can we hear you on?

Metallica - S&M2 (upcoming), The Composer is Dead - San Francisco Symphony (HarperColins), From Here On Out - Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (Analekta), Unremembered - Sarah Kirkland Snider (New Amsterdam), Expanded (Live at the Barbican) - These New Puritans (Infectons Music)


Considered “one of the most innovative conductors on the scene today,” Edwin Outwater works with orchestras and institutions throughout the world, producing, curating, and conducting unique concert experiences. He frequently premieres new works and connects audiences with repertoire beyond the mainstream. Recent wide-ranging projects include collaborations with Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, John Lithgow, and Metallica. Outwater has a long association with the San Francisco Symphony. He regularly conducts and curates their SoundBox series, and has conducted and hosted “Holiday Gaiety”, an LGBTQ holiday concert he created with drag performer Peaches Christ. He was Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra leading them on a highly acclaimed European tour, and also served as San Francisco Symphony Director of Summer Concerts. Outwater is Music Director Laureate of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, where he returns regularly. Recent guest appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.