A dynamic and passionate conductor, Steven Byess is recognized for his distinguished musicianship,
innovative programming, passion for music education, and commitment to outstanding educational programs.
He has been hailed by critics as "masterful and brilliant," "creating the epitome of instrumental elegance,"
"a talented interpreter, able to capture the sweep of a piece without neglecting detail,"
and capturing "the full spirit and vitality of the score perfectly."
He is the newly appointed Music Director of the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, and also holds the posts of Music Director of the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, Associate Music Director of the Ohio Light Opera, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra of Krakow, Poland. He formerly held the post of Cover Conductor for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. With the Ohio Light Opera, he has conducted, to critical acclaim, over 500 performances of 65 operas, operettas, and musical theater works, and is featured on seventeen CD recordings by Newport Classics, Albany Records, and Operetta Archives including Johann Strauss' A Night In Venice, Victor Herbert's Naughty Marietta and The Fortune Teller, Emmerich Kalman's Autumn Maneuvers, Countess Maritza, Das Veilchen vom Montmartre, Der Gute Komerad, and Die Faschingsfee, Rudolph Friml's The Vagabond King, Berte's Das Dreimaderlhaus, Sigmund Romberg's Maytime and Blossom Time, Sullivan's The Sorcerer, and Sousa's El Capitan. Former posts also include Opera Conductor for the Cleveland Institute of Music (Ohio), Music Director of Opera for California State University - Los Angeles, Music Director of the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestras, and the conducting faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Huw Edwards served as Music Director of Portland Columbia
Symphony Orchestra for twelve seasons and has consistently received critical approval from audiences, soloists and the press for his intense
performances and imaginative programming.
Mr. Edwards has also completed nine successful seasons as Music Director of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra in Washington, where there has been a palpable sense of excitement following his appointment in 2003. Edwards is credited with greatly improving the quality of the Orchestra, attracting new players, working with school programs and being very active in the community. Notable performances from last year's Intriguing Ties season include Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony, Les Preludes by Liszt and the Brahms Violin Concerto, with Denise Dillenbeck as soloist.
Mr. Edwards has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Annas Bay Opera, Yakima Symphony, has worked with the symphony orchestras of Dallas and Memphis, as well as numerous ensembles-both nationally and internationally. Last season Huw made a long-awaited return to the Salem Chamber Orchestra, and was immediately engaged to conduct another concert there in April 2012. Huw made his debut appearance with the Northwest Mahler Festival Orchestra in June (Bruckner Symphony No. 8) and traveled to Madison in July for his fourth appearance at the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's "Concerts on the Square"-conducting before 28,000 people at the State Capitol. From 2002-2005 Mr. Edwards was Music Director of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, and was a faculty member at the Marrowstone Music Festival (1998 to 2005). Mr. Edwards moved to Seattle after seven memorable seasons (1995-2002) as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, which included many innovations, a coveted ASCAP Award, as well as memorable tours to Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Born in South Wales (UK), Mr. Edwards holds degrees from the University of Surrey in England and SMU in Dallas, which he attended on scholarship in 1988. Huw came to the Pacific Northwest from Chicago, where he was a lecturer and a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University. His principal teachers have been Simon Johnson and Barry Wordsworth (London), Anshel Brusilow and Eduardo Mata (Dallas), and Victor Yampolsky (Chicago).
Outside of music Huw enjoys golf, kayaking, wines from the Southern Rhone, movies, the Chicago Bears, time with close friends, and is a member of Crossfit Olympia, where he is indebted to Juanita and Scott for their verbal motivation amid physical mediocrity!