For over 60 years, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony has inspired audiences with its extraordinary performances. Formed in 1945, the KWS rose to national prominence under Music Director Raffi Armenian (1971-1993). As the longest serving Music Director, he had a profound and lasting impact on the organization and his tenure saw the KWS evolve into a fully paid professional orchestra with a core of 52 musicians. During that time, the orchestra and its core principal players, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, toured across Canada, Europe, South America and Asia, and made numerous recordings that received several JUNO Award nominations. Its profile continued to grow under Music Directors Chosei Komatsu (1993-1999), Martin Fischer-Dieskau (2001-2003) and Principal Guest Conductor, Simon Streatfeild (2004-2006). In 2007, Edwin Outwater joined the KWS as Music Director.
Today, the KWS is one of Canada’s outstanding orchestras, presenting a diverse and rich concert season and garnering national and international attention for its artistry, musicianship, and creative programming. Innovative and experimental in approach, the KWS works to redefine what an orchestra is today and to present music – much of it Canadian – in new and relevant ways. This approach resonates with many and has drawn attention to the KWS locally, nationally and internationally. The orchestra is heard regularly across Canada on CBC Radio and collaborates with some of today’s great artists including Measha Brueggergosman, James Ehnes, Frederica von Stade, Kirill Gerstein, Anton Kuerti, and Yuja Wang. The KWS’ Intersections Series has explored collaborations with notable artists and composers Nico Muhly, Richard Reed Parry, Mason Bates, Dan Deacon, Nicole Lizée, and Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket.