Iwan Edwards. Choral conductor, orchestral conductor, b Wales 5 Oct 1937; B MUS (University College of Wales) 1961. Listening to the London Symphony Orchestra and directing choirs in his youth inspired Iwan Edwards to pursue a career in music. He completed an undergraduate degree in violin at the University of Wales in 1961 and was subsequently offered a scholarship in orchestral conducting at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music (London). He declined the scholarship, dedicating himself instead to professional teaching and directing. In 1965 Edwards moved to Canada and taught at Lachine High School (1965-79) and at the Fine Arts Core Education (FACE) School in Montreal (1979-90). Edwards earned a reputation for his work with young voices, and was appointed associate professor at McGill University in 1991, where he remained until his retirement in 2001. Iwan Edwards is best known as the longtime director of the St. Lawrence Choir (1972-2007) and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Chorus (1986-2007).
Edwards became interim conductor of the Montreal Elgar Choir in 1971, and from that group, he formed the St. Lawrence Choir the following year. He was also the founder of the FACE Treble Choir, Concerto Della Donna, and the Canadian Chamber Choir. In 1986 Edwards became director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Chorus, a position he held for 21 years. In that position, Edwards worked closely with conductor Charles Dutoit, on occasion taking the podium himself. He has worked with several other ensembles from across the country, including the Lanaudière International Festival Chorus (1996-8), the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ottawa Choral Society (1992-6, 2001-05), the Lanaudière Festival Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with such international groups as the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, in the Czech Republic, and the Karlsbaden Symphony Orchestra, in Germany; and such celebrated conductors as Franz-Paul Decker, Zubin Mehta, Trevor Pinnock, and Helmuth Rilling.
Awards and Honours
With the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Edwards contributed to the Juno-winning recordings of Berlioz's Les Troyens (Juno Award, 1995) and La Damnation de Faust (Juno Award, 1997). He was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995 and received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.