A message from Huw Edwards (written June 26, 2020)
"About this time last year I decided it was time to step down from my position with the OSO, for various reasons both local and international, but I looked forward to a joyous and heartwarming final go around. Who would have ever predicted the way this year has unfolded -- history books will have a big asterisk alongside 2020, as we comprehend and tackle pandemics both old and new -- or that conversation would be dominated with "social distancing", "flattening the curve", "Covid-19", "George Floyd" or "CHOP"? As a conductorial colleague recently quipped, "nobody can ever deny that my final year in Olympia was not memorable!" With over 120,000 deaths in the USA from the Coronavirus I am not complaining; it just is what it is. However, it feels hollow and unfulfilling to have had a valedictory season abruptly truncated, especially as it was going so well and the Orchestra was playing at a fantastic level: the epic Shostakovich Symphony No. 10; sold-out Dvorak New World Symphony with amazing visuals; the standing room-only Christmas Concert (I am so glad this happened this year, doing this event at a packed WCPA was a long-held dream of mine); and the fun Gershwin and Adams concert on February 9 -- which now serves as my swansong.
Although the last few years have been tough and have taken a toll, I leave with nothing but great musical memories and a sense of pride at my 17 years at the helm of the OSO. I have enjoyed calling Olympia my home since 2006 and integrating into this multifarious community. I have met wonderful people here and developed many lasting friendships. The audiences have been incredibly supportive; I feel honored, and am so grateful, to have been your "maestro" since 2003. I do not foresee being back on the podium here, but it would be gratifying, one day, to get to perform a proper send-off concert for you all. I wish the Orchestra well and look forward to hearing of its continued growth and prosperity in years to come."
With my heartfelt thanks and very best wishes, Huw
A message from Huw Edwards (written September 19, 2019)
"Although I have several years remaining on my contract I have decided to make the 2019-20 Season my last one as the conductor of the OSO. I have enjoyed 17 memorable and varied years with the OSO, having won the audition in 2003. I have liked calling Olympia my home since 2006—but I want to spend more time with my ailing parents in my native Isles. I am not sure if there is ever a right time to leave…but there is definitely a wrong time to stay; how I live is more important than what I do. The Orchestra is playing really well, sounding fantastic and I’d like to think it has improved during my tenure. However, it is time for someone else—a fresh voice with different tastes. I shall miss the audience here—loyal, supportive and appreciative—and plan on working hard to make this Season a great one with our appealing programs and wonderful soloists. This is definitely a negotiated-deal kind of Brexit!"