Huw Edwards

Huw Edwards is now in his eleventh season as Music Director of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra, having been selected after a yearlong audition process during the 2002-3 Season.  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.  Last year’s 60th anniversary Diamond Brilliance season has been widely regarded as the best yet, which included memorable performances of music from Britten’s Peter Grimes, the Fifth Symphony by Shostakovich, Ives’ Decoration Day, the Elgar Cello Concerto and the epic Ninth Symphony by Beethoven—in collaboration with the Olympia Choral Society.

In May 2012—following a competitive application and interview period—Mr. Edwards was named the new Director of Orchestras at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and his first academic year was viewed as a great success.  Huw has also been engaged as an adjunct-professor at South Puget Sound Community College: he teaches a Music Appreciation Class and also presents a “brown bag” talk open to the entire campus community the week before each OSO concert.

Mr. Edwards was the Music Director of the Portland Columbia Symphony in Oregon from 2000-2012, where he consistently received critical acclaim from audiences, guest soloists and the press for his intense performances and daring programming.  Upon stepping down from this position Huw was immediately named the Orchestra’s Conductor Emeritus and Principal Guest Conductor; he returned to the Orchestra last May in a heralded performance of Elgar’s enigmatic Second Symphony.

From 2002-5 Mr. Edwards was Music Director of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras and was a faculty member at the Marrowstone Music Festival from 1998 to 2005.  Mr. Edwards moved to Seattle after seven wonderful seasons (1995-2002) as the third Music Director of the lauded Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon, a tenure which included numerous innovations, a coveted ASCAP Award and landmark tours to Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Active as a guest conductor, 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 the Northwest Mahler Festival Orchestra, a return to the pit for a hugely-successful triple-bill with Ballet Northwest, Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers, Salem Chamber Orchestra, the Alumni Orchestra at PYP during their 90th anniversary season and the Symphony Orchestra at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Born in Wales, Great Britain, Mr. Edwards holds degrees from the University of Surrey in England and Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Mr. Edwards came to the Northwest from Chicago, Illinois, where he was a lecturer at NorthwesternUniversity and a Doctoral candidate. Mr. Edwards has been active as a conductor since the age of 17 when he was appointed Music Director of the Maidstone Opera Company 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).