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SAN DIEGO [July 6, 2021] – After a twenty-five-year tenure leading one of the United States’ most prestigious music education programs for young people, Maestro Jeff Edmons has announced his retirement from the podium.

Edmons is stepping down for personal and health reasons prior to the start of the 2021-2022 season in September. “I am so honored and fortunate to have been able to work with so many incredible and inspirational students over these 25 years,” said Edmons. “I am so proud of this organization and everything it does for young people across San Diego County and beyond. Sadly, I am just not able to undertake the physical demands of the position any longer.” He continued, “After 25 incredible years with such incredible and inspirational students, families, and colleagues, I knew it was time for me to step down and to make way for a new Music Director who can lead this historic organization to new heights.”

Board Chair Sue Greenway commented further: “Jeff has helped shape SDYS and was instrumental in its emergence as one of the leading youth arts organizations in the country. While we are all disappointed about Jeff’s departure, we understand and respect his decision. I am confident that our leadership and staff will be able to carry on his extraordinary legacy of serving young people through the region’s finest music education programs.”

Edmons started at San Diego Youth Symphony in 1996 after a year-long, international search for a new Music Director. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded from two to thirteen ensembles and serves as many as 700 students each year in the Balboa Park ensemble program. Other highlights include:

  • Contributing to the creation of the Community Opus Project, a partnership with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, to expand access to music education to students who previously did not have the opportunity to study music;
  • Leading multiple international tours with SDYS students, including a historic tour to China for SDYS’ 70th anniversary season;
  • Co-founding the International Youth Symphony program, a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the Rotary Club’s International Youth Exchange;
  • Developing unique partnerships with other music organizations in San Diego including the La Jolla Music Society; and,
  • Leading SDYS’ Chamber Orchestra as the first orchestra to be featured on National Public Radio’s From The Top.

Plans are already underway to host guest conductors for the 2021-22 season and to launch a national search for a replacement. “Jeff leaves big shoes to fill,” said SDYS President and CEO Michael Remson, “but we have an extraordinary team and infrastructure, as well as Jeff’s commitment to excellence and personal growth to guide us forward.”

“I have always focused on the students and strived to make sure that they have an unforgettable experience in music together,” Edmons said. “Even after what has been such a challenging year for organizations across the United States, I’m so proud to know that SDYS will continue to lead the way to a bright future through inspiring music education.”

Plans to celebrate Edmons’ 25-year legacy at SDYS will be announced in the coming weeks. You can make a tax deductible contribution in honor of Mr. Edmons using the button below. This fund will give SDYS students the ability to engage in special projects or opportunities that develop and foster leadership and community service.



About SDYS

For 75 years, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) has served as a catalyst for investing in the future of thousands of young San Diegans through the study and performance of music. Through SDYS’ flagship ensemble program in Balboa Park, its neighborhood engagement projects, and its early childhood music curriculum, SDYS is San Diego’s most comprehensive provider of ‘cradle through college’ music education programs and a national leader in innovative community engagement, serving thousands of young musicians and their families each year.

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory is supported by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the County of San Diego, the California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as numerous individual donors and private foundations.

Media Contact

Anji Taylor, Marketing & Communication Manager
San Diego Youth Symphony
(619) 233-3232 ext. 190 |

San Diego Youth Symphony