Edwin Outwater, Artistic Director

Edwin Outwater is Music Director of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (KWS), Director of Summer Concerts at the San Francisco Symphony, and regularly guest conducts the Chicago and New World Symphonies. Equally at home interpreting canonical masterworks, premiering new commissions, and creating truly innovative, audience-building programming initiatives, the American conductor is, as San Francisco Classical Voice recently observed, “headed for a top-tier future.”

In the 2013-14 season, his seventh as Music Director of the KWS, Outwater leads the orchestra in a characteristically diverse array of programs, ranging from his fresh take on repertory favorites by Beethoven, Britten, Prokofiev, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms, to inspired collaborations, including one with composers Dan Deacon and Nicole Lizée in the KWS’s groundbreaking “Intersections” series, which will also be performed and recorded at Toronto’s Koerner Hall. Highlights of the conductor’s coming year include returning to the San Francisco Symphony for subscription and family concerts, three appearances with the Chicago Symphony, and further guest appearances with the New World Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Indianapolis Symphony, and many others.

The 2012-2013 season featured numerous key guest conducting engagements, including a return to the Chicago Symphony for two appearances, and guest appearances with the Tokyo Symphony, New World Symphony, the New York City Ballet, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the Phoenix Symphony. Outwater continued to promote new music in 2012-13, with performances of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s song cycle Penelope; “Bollywood and Beyond” with Indian virtuosos Trichy and Suba Sankaran; works by Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, Son Lux, Stewart Goodyear, and Magnus Lindberg; and Cameron Carpenter’s The Scandal, with the composer himself on organ.

In 2011, Outwater directed the KWS on its first commercial CD release in over a decade, From Here On Out, which features the music of Nico Muhly, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry (a KWS commission) on the Analekta label. According to NPR, “Whether it’s Muhly’s exuberant minimalism, Parry’s delicate textures or Greenwood’s dense thicket of sound, Outwater guides dexterous performances by musicians who play the music like they own it.”

In the United States, Outwater has also conducted the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Houston, Detroit, Seattle, and many others. In Canada, he has conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as the symphonies of Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Victoria. International appearances include the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the New Zealand Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony, the Malmö Symphony, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. In 2009 he made his professional opera debut with the San Francisco Opera conducting Verdi’s La Traviata, and he has since conducted Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires with concert:nova Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Opera, as well as Menotti’s one-act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors at New York’s Lincoln Center. He participated as Associate Conductor in both YouTube Symphony projects, at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

Outwater was Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony from 2001-2006. While there, he worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas, accompanied the orchestra on tour and conducted numerous concerts each season. He made his subscription debut in 2002 with Kurt Masur conducting Britten’s War Requiem, and has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Evelyn Glennie, and many others. On two occasions, Outwater stepped in for Michael Tilson Thomas, conducting performances of Stravinsky’s complete Pulcinella, as well as works by Beethoven, Wagner, and Cherubini. In July 2006, Outwater conducted the world premiere performance and recording of The Composer is Dead by Nathaniel Stookey and Lemony Snicket, which was later released by HarperCollins. In 2008, his recording with the San Francisco Symphony of the music of Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate was released to wide acclaim.

From 2001–05, Outwater was Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. During his tenure, he led the orchestra in all of their concerts as well as on tour through Europe in summer 2004, when the orchestra made its debut at Vienna’s Musikverein and Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and returned to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Before joining the San Francisco Symphony, Outwater served as Resident Conductor and Associate Guest Conductor of the Florida Philharmonic. He has held posts as Associate Conductor of the Festival-Institute at Round Top in Texas, Principal Conductor of the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in Molise, Italy, and Assistant Conductor of the Tulsa Philharmonic.

Outwater’s work in music education and community outreach has been widely celebrated. In 2004 his education programs at the San Francisco Symphony were given the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, and his Chinese New Year Program was given the MET LIFE award for community outreach. In Kitchener-Waterloo, Outwater redesigned the orchestra’s education series and initiated myriad community connections. At the San Francisco Symphony, he conducted Family Concerts; Adventures in Music performances, which are heard by more than 25,000 students from San Francisco schools each year; and Concerts for Kids, which reach students throughout Northern California. In Florida, Outwater designed the Florida Philharmonic Family Series and its Music for Youth program, which was heard annually by more than 40,000 fifth-grade students in South Florida. He appears frequently with training orchestras and music festivals throughout the United States and across the world, including the New World Symphony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the National Music Camp of Australia, the National Youth Orchestra of New Zealand, the Music Academy of the West, the National Orchestral Institute, the Festival-Institute at Round Top, and New York’s Mannes Conservatory Orchestra. Outwater has served as music director of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and on the faculties of the University of Tulsa, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and University of California, Santa Barbara.

A native of Santa Monica, California, Edwin Outwater attended Harvard University, graduating cum laude in 1993 with a degree in English literature. While at Harvard, he was music director of the Bach Society Orchestra and the Harvard Din and Tonics (an acclaimed a cappella group), and wrote the music for the 145th annual production of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He received his master’s degree in conducting from UC Santa Barbara, where he studied with Heiichiro Ohyama and Paul Polivinick. He also studied music theory and composition with John Stewart, Joel Feigin, and Leonard Stein.

Aimée Kreston, Executive Director and Principal Second Violin

A native of Chicago, violinist Aimée Kreston spent her formative years studying with with renowned pedagogue Almita Vamos. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Jascha Brodsky, Yumi Ninomiya, and Felix Galamir and then continued her studies with the legendary concertmaster Michel Schwalbe.

In 1989 Ms. Kreston became the youngest member of the Minnesota Orchestra and a year later won the post of Principal Second Violin in that ensemble. From 1993-1997 she served as Concertmaster of L’Orchestre de Paris; the only American in the ensemble. She has been privileged to work with some of the world's greatest conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Sergio Celibidache, Carlo Maria Guillini, Gorge Solti and Pierre Boulez.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1998, Ms. Kreston joined the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra as concertmaster, and in June of 2000, she was engaged as concertmaster of the Pasadena Symphony.

Ms. Kreston was a prizewinner of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition in Sion, Switzerland in 1989 and at the WAMSO Young artist’s competition in Minneapolis in 1988.

A committed teacher, Ms. Kreston has been a prime mover of Project Harmony, a program designed to bring high quality, low-cost musical training to disadvantaged children in Los Angeles. In 2002, she traveled to Cambodia where she conducted teacher training at the Phnom Penh conservatory. She is also on the faculty of the Henry Mancini Institute at UCLA and at The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles. Ms. Kreston is married to violist Andrew Picken.

Dmitri Bovaird, Orchestra Manager

Violist Dmitri Bovaird is a native of Southern California and he teaches and performs in the Los Angeles area.  Mr. Bovaird currently is a member of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  His early musical training was on the violin, studying with Sybil Maxwell and then he later switched to viola.  His teachers have included Sven Reher, Bernard Kadinoff, Myron Sandler, and Donald McInnes.  Mr. Bovaird has been performing as an orchestral musician since elementary school.  His professional career has been large and varied.  It has ranged from chamber concerts in remote villages of Belize and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra concerts on the sands of Copa Cabana to playing opera performances at the Music Center of Los Angeles and Andre Agassi Foundation fundraisers at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  He has performed, toured and recorded with numerous orchestras, including the Burbank Symphony, Camerata of Los Angeles, Korean Philharmonic, Japanese Philharmonic, Pasadena Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Opera a la Carte, Mozart Camerata, Pasadena Pops, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Festival Mozaic, Santa Barbara Symphony, Topanga Symphony, Symphony in the Glen, San Fernando Valley Symphony, California Philharmonic, Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Opera and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  Mr. Bovaird is also active in the Los Angeles freelance scene.  His work in this area includes countless gigs from church concerts to recording sessions. 

Elizabeth Hedman, concertmaster

Elizabeth Hedman joined the Eastern Sierra Symphony on the faculty and Concertmaster in 2012. 

Ms. Hedman has been a soloist with The National Repertory Orchestra, The Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, The Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and The Seattle Youth Symphony, among others. Her education includes Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she won both the Concerto Competition and the Valedictory Award and was teaching assistant to Donald Weilerstein.  Her principal violin teachers include Mr. Weilerstein, Margaret Pressley, and Naoko Tanaka; and for piano, Beth Hall. 

Currently, Elizabeth resides in Los Angeles and she is Principal Second and Acting Concertmaster for the Santa Barbara Symphony as well as a member of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and the Pasadena Symphony and Pops.  Elizabeth plays regularly with the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Santa Barbara Opera. She is a member of Ensemble Green and the Pasadena String Quartet.  Since 2009 she has been performing at the renowned Oregon Bach Festival, where she acts as Principal Second for select performances.  

Andrew Picken, principal viola

Violist Andrew Picken was raised in the Los Angeles area and spent many summers in the High Sierra. He is the associate principal violist of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra and has performed with many other ensembles in the region including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Picken has performed around the world, from Taiwan to Saint Petersburg and from Tblisi to Mexico City. Mr. Picken records frequently in the motion picture studios and can be heard on the soundtracks of such movies as King Kong, Master and Commander, and Finding Nemo. 


Stephen Thiroux, Bassoon

Bassoonist Stephen Thiroux joined the Eastern Sierra Symphony Orchestra in 2004. For 18 years, Stephen was Principal Bassoonist of the Ventura Symphony Orchestra. He was also a member of the Hour of Power Orchestra at the Crystal Cathedral for over 12 years. As a founding member of the Avenel Chamber Players (woodwind quintet with piano), Stephen has participated in several world premieres commissioned by the group. He maintains an active career as a freelance bassoonist and contrabassoonist throughout southern California. 


Oscar Hidalgo, Principal Bass

Oscar Hidalgo is a native of Los Angeles. He attended USC, where he studied with Peter Mercurio, Dennis Trembly, Fred Tinsley and Susan Ranney. After graduating from USC he studied in Vienna with Johannes Auersperg and in Siena with Franco Petracchi. While in Europe he performed with the Rossini International Opera Festival in Pesaro, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra Per Musica in Amsterdam, as well as the Double Bass ensemble The Wardrobes in London. He held the position of Principle Bass in the Sinfonietta Salzburg. He was solo Double Bass for the White Oak Dance Project, on tour with Mikael Baryshnikov.

Back in Los Angeles, he's performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pacific Symphony and many other Los Angeles area orchestras as well as the Ojai Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival and Chamber Music Unbound in Mammoth Lakes. He was Associate Principal for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for 15 years and served as Acting Principal for five seasons with them. He has worked as a recording artist for the Motion Picture and Television Industries since 1993.