Iwan Edwards

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Iwan Edwards, CM (born October 5, 1937), is a celebrated Canadian choral conductor. Over a forty-year span he has founded and conducted several notable choirs and thrilled audiences. For his outstanding work he has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Edwards was born in Wales and completed his undergraduate degree in music (violin) at the University of Wales.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1965, he left Wales and moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. There he taught high school music at Lachine High School until 1979. He managed his time well and was able to start the St. Lawrence Choir in 1972. Over 35 years, Edwards has led this choir for audiences in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Saratoga Springs, New York City (Carnegie Hall), and Philadelphia.

From 1979 to 1990, he taught high school music at the Fine Arts Core Education School in Montreal.[1][2] In 1991, Edwards was appointed associate professor at the McGill University Faculty of Music. There he conducted the McGill Chamber Singers, the University Chorus and, on occasion, the McGill Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. He served as Chairman of the Performance Department of the Faculty of Music from 1992-96.[2]

Over the past four decades, Maestro Edwards has founded and directed the 110-voice St. Lawrence Choir, the F.A.C.E. Treble Choir, Concerto Della Donna, Choeur des enfants de Montréal, and the Canadian Chamber Choir in addition to working with the Ottawa Choral Society, the Lanaudière International Festival Chorus, and the Vancouver Bach Choir. These collaborations have led to performances with prominent orchestras in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, and Vancouver and, internationally, the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra in the Czech Republic. Renowned conductors with whom Maestro Edwards has worked include Charles Dutoit, Franz-Paul Decker, Zubin Mehta, Bramwell Tovey, Trevor Pinnock, Helmut Rilling, Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Roger Norrington and Kent Nagano.[3] During his 21-year tenure at the helm of the Chorus of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, recordings involving the chorus won a Grammy Award (“Les Troyens” – Berlioz) and two Juno Awards (Berlioz’s “Les Troyens” and “La Damnation de Faust”). Over the course of his long relationship with the MSO, Maestro Edwards has conducted numerous MSO performances including Handel’s “Messiah” at Notre Dame Basilica.[3]

In May 1995, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his outstanding achievements in the Arts, and also received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.[3] In 1998 and 1999, Edwards was trusted to be the guest conductor of the National Youth Choir of Canada. He retired from McGill University in June, 2001.[2] Edwards would not relax in retirement. Instead he became the Artistic Director and Conductor of the newly formed Canadian Chamber Choir. In 2004, he passed CCC's baton to his protege, Julia Davids.[4] He retired from the Saint Lawrence Choir, Chorus of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Choeur des enfants de Montréal in 2007.[5] He now focuses on the 17-voice women ensemble Concerto Della Donna, acting as Conductor and Musical Director.[3][6]

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