Skip to main content

Edwin Outwater

Edwin Outwater


Courses Taught

Music Director, SFCM

Applied Lessons

Large Ensemble For Conductors


MM UC Santa Barbara

BA Harvard University

Distinguished Alumni

Jaco Wong - Assistant Conductor: Oakland Symphony and Opera Parallèle / Cover Conductor: San Francisco Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra / Music Director, The Harker School

David Baker - Assistant Conductor Finalist, New World Symphony, Alabama Symphony / Guest Conductor: SFJazzAssistant Conductor: Britt Festival, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute / Cover Conductor: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Louisville Orcehstra


What is your hometown?

Santa Monica, CA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Reading, art, the outdoors (I love to surf and ski).

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

" There is no tempo, only momentum!"

What was a turning point in your career?

There were actually two big moments: being hired by Michael Tilson Thomas as Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and working with Metallica as conductor and Musical Director of S&M2.

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

When I was an undergraduate I wrote lots of comedy bits for my singing group, The Harvard Din & Tonics, and loved it. Luckily I still get to write comedy a few times a year with my collaborator Peaches Christ and some of the funniest people on the planet a few times a year for my "Holiday Gaiety" and "Symphony of Terror" shows. 

What is your unrealized project?

In the last few years, I've started to collaborate with other musicians co-writing and producing new music. I can't wait to continue and grow this aspect of my work - it's a joy to hear my own music come out on a recording. 

What do you think makes a concert experience unique?

Concerts should make the listener feel a sense of wonder and the joy of experiencing something new. Anything that we can do that makes music sound and feel new qualifies: it could be other elements that recontextualize (lights, video), or it could simply (and most importantly) be a brilliant performance of a work, old or new. 

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?

Mason Bates - Philharmonia Fantastique (Chicago Symphony, GRAMMY winner), Stewart Copeland - Police Deranged for Orchestra (Conductor and Co-Prodcer), Kirk Hammett - Portals (Co-Writer), Metallica - S&M2 (Conductor and Musical Director), The Composer is Dead - San Francisco Symphony (HarperColins), From Here On Out - Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (Analekta), Unremembered - Sarah Kirkland Snider (New Amsterdam)


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 Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Renée Fleming 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 also Music Director Laureate of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, where he returns regularly. He recently made his debut at the Royal Albert Hall with Cynthia Erivo, and returned with his own program, "A Christmas Gaiety," with Peaches Christ. Recent guest appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Recent recordings include the GRAMMY-winning Philharmonia Fantastique with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Police Deranged for Orchestra with Stewart Copeland (conductor and co-producer) and Portals which he co-wrote with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. 

Video URL