Edo de Waart, Principal Guest Conductor

This 2019-20 season Edo de Waart begins his new role as Principal Guest Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has been a featured guest conductor for the past five seasons. He concludes his tenure as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the end of their 2019 season and takes up the role of Conductor Laureate. Mr. de Waart also holds the positions of Conductor Laureate of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Music Director Laureate of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

“I have known Edo de Waart for more than 35 years and have always admired his music making,” said Martha Gilmer, San Diego Symphony CEO. “When he first worked with the San Diego Symphony in January 2015 there was an immediate mutual respect. I have heard from many of the musicians how much they value the work they do together in rehearsals as well as concerts, which is the highest compliment an orchestral musician can pay. Rafael Payare and I came to the mutual conclusion to affirm this relationship with the title of principal guest conductor. I could not be more thrilled that Edo de Waart will be a vital part of the artistic life of the San Diego Symphony.”

“Edo de Waart is without question one of the preeminent conductors of our time. As conductors we often do not find ourselves in the same city at the same time. However, we were both together in San Diego in September, and had the opportunity to spend some time in conversation together. I believe that his relationship with this orchestra will have an important artistic impact, and I am very happy that he is committed to working with the orchestra every year to enhance and sustain their artistic achievement,” said music director designate Rafael Payare.

“It is a privilege to accept this position with San Diego, and such an exciting time to be collaborating with the leadership and artistic team, as well as Rafael Payare. Throughout the past few years conducting the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, I’ve gotten to know some of the wonderful musicians and I love their energy and focus and look forward to working together with Rafael Payare to take the orchestra to the next level,” said de Waart.

De Waart returns to the San Diego Symphony in January 2020 for a series of Jacobs Masterworks concerts celebrating Beethoven's 250th birthday.


More about Edo de Waart:

Principal Guest Conductor Edo de Waart also holds the positions of Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Laureate of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Music Director Laureate of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his existing posts, he was previously Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor of De Nederlandse Opera.

As part of the Beethoven 250th birthday celebrations, Mr. de Waart will conduct all the composer’s symphonies with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and several Beethoven programs with the San Diego Symphony, with whom he will be joined by soloists Emmanuel Ax and Leila Josefowicz. He will make his annual appearance with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and return to the Chicago, Dallas and Indianapolis Symphony orchestras. Other guest conducting highlights this season include New Japan Philharmonic, KBS Symphony and Hangzhou Philharmonic.

As an opera conductor, Mr. de Waart has enjoyed success in a large and varied repertoire in many of the world’s greatest opera houses. He has conducted at Bayreuth, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opéra Bastille, Santa Fe Opera and The Metropolitan Opera. With the aim of bringing opera to broader audiences where concert halls prevent full staging, he has, as Music Director in Milwaukee, Antwerp and Hong Kong, often conducted semi-staged and “opera in concert” performances.

A renowned orchestral trainer, he has been involved with projects working with talented young players at the Juilliard and Colburn schools and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

Mr. de Waart’s extensive catalogue encompasses releases for Philips, Virgin, EMI, Telarc and RCA. Recent recordings include Henderickx’s Symphony No. 1 and Oboe Concerto, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, all with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic.

Beginning his career as an Assistant Conductor to Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic, Mr. de Waart then returned to Holland where he was appointed Assistant Conductor to Bernard Haitink at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1973 he was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

Edo de Waart has received a number of awards for his musical achievements, including becoming a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion and an Honorary Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.