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Huw Edwards finds it hard to believe that he is now in his 15th Season as Music Director of the Olympia Symphony—which coincides with the Orchestra’s 65th anniversary year. There has been a continued sense of excitement in Olympia about Huw’s tenure and he is credited with greatly improving the quality of the Orchestra, selecting challenging yet rewarding programs and being very active in the community. Some notable highlights from last year’s “Music for All Seasons” include Beethoven’s Second Symphony, Richard Strauss’ Death & Transfiguration, Dvorak’s lovable Slavonic Dances, the William Tell Overture by Rossini, and the Sibelius Violin Concerto with soloist, Svend Rønning.
Mr. Edwards was the Music Director of the Portland Columbia Symphony in Oregon from 2000-2012, and in June 2012 was immediately named the Orchestra’s Conductor Emeritus and Principal Guest Conductor. From 2002-2005 Mr. Edwards was Music Director of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, and a faculty member at the Marrowstone Music Festival from 1998-2005. Mr. Edwards moved to Seattle after seven wonderful seasons (1995-2002) as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic (PYP) in Oregon, a tenure which included numerous innovations, recordings, a coveted ASCAP Award and landmark tours to Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
This academic year Huw will be a visiting professor at Pacific Lutheran University, where he will conduct the University Symphony and host a High School Orchestra Festival. Huw teaches classes at the South Sound Senior Center, highlighting the OSO programs—his most recent course was Scroll Over Beethoven—and is an adjunct professor at South Puget Sound Community College, teaching music appreciation classes on occasion.
Active as a guest conductor and clinician, Mr. Edwards has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Eugene Symphony, Yakima Symphony and has worked with the symphony orchestras of Dallas and Memphis, as well as with ensembles in Illinois, New York, Idaho, Vermont, Utah, Minnesota, Oregon, Nebraska, Washington, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, and throughout the United Kingdom. Recent guest engagements have included Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers, the Symphony Orchestra at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the Junior Washington All-State Orchestra in Spokane, Ballet Northwest’s production of Coppélia, and he has served as the conductor of the Stradivari Academy Orchestra at the University of Portland the past four summers. Last August, Huw was the conducting instructor at the Birch Bay String Teachers Workshop in Bellingham, was an adjudicator at the WMEA State competition in Ellensburg last April, and conducted an Honor Orchestra in Vancouver in December. He will return to guest conduct the PYP in May 2018—in in some favorite British music by Finzi and Butterworth—and has been invited back to Madison to conduct the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s July 4 “Concert-on-the-Square” in front of 40,000 people.
Born in Wales, Great Britain, Mr. Edwards holds degrees from the University of Surrey in England and Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Mr. Edwards was also a lecturer at Northwestern University and a Doctoral candidate (1991-95). Mr. Edwards has been active as a conductor since the age of 17 when he was appointed Music Director of the Maidstone G&S Society in England—a post he held for six years—and came to the United States in 1988 on scholarship to attend SMU in Texas. His principal teachers have been Simon Johnson and Barry Wordsworth (London), Anshel Brusilow and Eduardo Mata (Dallas), and Victor Yampolsky (Chicago).