Wayne Toews

It’s impossible to capture how many lives Wayne Toews has impacted over the last 50+ years. He has dedicated so many hours to ensuring programs thrive, year after year after year. With this in mind, he always has time for each individual musician looking for guidance. He truly goes above and beyond to create successful outcomes and positive experiences for his friends, colleagues and students. 

We would like to offer a small sample to corroborate the information presented in the nomination letter, which is representative of how an immeasurable number of individuals, groups and communities has been impacted by the many years Wayne Toews has dedicated to be betterment of music provincially, nationally and internationally. 

in 2021, Wayne Toews adapted programming to meet COVID-19 Protocols. This opened the Saito Conducting Workshop to an even broader audience world-wide. 

Photo Credit: Elaine Kaloustian

Mr. Toews’ influence through his 27 years as the director of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra can be seen in the successful careers of so many of its graduands who have made careers in Canada and abroad

  • Professor Kerry DuWors, internationally acclaimed violin soloist, professor of violin, Brandon University, and winner of the Grand Prize at the 26th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, Felix Galimir Award for Chamber Music Excellence, and two Canada Council Career Development Grants as well as a four-time laureate of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank. https://www.kerryduwors.com/
  • Carissa Klopoushak: Member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Executive Director of the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, and founding member of the Ukranian folk-rock band Тут і Там http://www.carissaklopoushak.com/
  • William Rowson (conducting symphony – associate conductor) – Conductor Stratford Symphony and was assistant director Vancouver Symphony. https://www.vancouversymphony.ca/artist/william-rowson/
  • Julia Wedman – Tafelmusik (world renowned baroque orchestra based in Toronto). https://www.juliawedman.com/about
  • Jana Sailor – conductor and violinist, founder of the Allegra Chamber orchestra, has conducted the major orchestras in Canada and Japan, teachers at Mount Royal University Conservatory: https://www.mtroyal.ca/ProgramsCourses/FacultiesSchoolsCentres/TheConservatory/ContactUs/Faculty/cons_bio_sailor_janna.htm
  • Rika Asai – University of Pittsburg professor in music history (PHD Indiana). https://www.music.pitt.edu/people/rika-asai
  • Bede Hanley (principal oboist of the Auckland Philharmonia)
  • Ryan Cole (principal trumpet Victoria symphony)
  • Karen Gustafson (former band student, and university professor) – faculty at Burman University, formerly instructor at Red Deer, and retired Associated Professor of Music at Alaska-Fairbanks.

Quotes From Past Students and Colleagues

It’s impossible to accurately describe his impact on students and the public school system. Below is a small sample of the stories you will hear many times if you speak to his students and colleagues.

  • Megan Davis (former student)

“I model all my teaching after you and the care, kindness, and love with which you treated all of us. You were the most perfect example of a teacher, friend and mentor and I hold you in such high esteem.”

  • Zenobia Sadoway (former student)

“Wayne, you are a humble legend unto yourself. I have had so many conversations about you, with all ranges of people, over the years. I don’t think you have a true awareness of what a powerful positive legacy you created.”

  • Sarah Fox (former student)

“I still quote wisdom from you, even though I am not in the music business in any way. It’s applicable across the board. I work in the Jewish non-profit world, so the fact that wisdom Mr. Toews shared in music class is applicable in my work now, is pretty amazing, and speaks to his character.

  • José Elizondo (Colleague)

“Maestro Toews is the embodiment of kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. I admire his vast musical knowledge and his extraordinary artistic sensibility that make him such a fantastic musician, as well as his devotion to education. During the past couple of decades, I’ve had the honor of counting him as my friend and mentor. He has generously taught me and helped me grow as a composer. I respect and admire him deeply and I’m grateful for the many blessings that he’s brought into my life.”

  • Dean Bernier (Colleague)

“While watching Wayne teach high school, I found him to be a very organized, disciplined, knowledgeable, and demanding teacher, who had the respect of his students and was able to bring out the best in their performances. As a board member he was knowledgeable, organized, quick on his feet with information & answers, and was not afraid to question or challenge the matter at hand.”

  • Rebecca Hankins-Vopni (Colleague)

“Wayne Toews has touched, encouraged and inspired a province and beyond of musicians of all ages and their families.  It has been a privilege and a pleasure working with him on the SOA board and as a parent of Youth Orchestra musicians.  Wayne was involved in the initial stages of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association and throughout its development.  Therefore, he was involved in the beginnings and continuance of the orchestral and string music community throughout the province.  Wayne’s support for and motivation has been instrumental in creating the strong musical environment of our province.

Quotes from Past Participants in the SOA International Saito Conducting Workshop

  • Deborah Buck, Pianist

“Wayne Toews is to be commended for the labour and passion he pours into this project every year. The Saito Workshop is an excellent resource for professional and aspiring conductors from this province and beyond our borders. I’m proud that this training is available right in my own back yard.” 

  • Dr. Scott MacLennan, Participant

“The workshop is still one of the greatest life changing moments in my career!”

  • Dr. Dominic Gregorio, Participant

“I had the most amazing time this week at the International Saito Conducting Workshop! I learned SO much that I will continue to use everyday in my conducting life. I’m so grateful to Wayne Toews Sensei for his high degree of expertise and warm supportive approach to teaching. He is a true Maestro!”

  • Dr. Philip Baldwin, Participant

“This workshop was a life-changing experience. The combination of a clear, concise methodology and sequential pedagogy coupled with a vocabulary of gestures make the Saito method superior. Mr. Toews is a gifted musician and teacher and the entire experience was incredible.”  

Over his lifetime he has not only impacted thousands of local musicians, but also musicians on the national and international stage both individually, and collaboratively. With a consistent goal of inclusiveness, he has ventured into many genres and explored many cultures, creating new relationships between musicians along the way.  As a well-known composer, It is impossible to list every accomplishment, but to highlight a few: 

  • MU-QU-LA – is a piece scheduled to be performed by the Sinfonia Toronto in 2023 *more information here: The name MU-QU-LA appears on the back of a Moon mask that Wayne’s friend Awasaklas had given Wayne in appreciation for his having taught Awasaklas’ granddaughter to play violin. So, the piece celebrates Wayne’s memories of his friend.  Reference: Sinfonia Toronto – 2022-2023 Concerts (instantencore.com) 
  • Edmonton Chamber orchestra played a piece he composed in 2018.
  • Under the direction of Wayne Toews and George Charpentier, the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra played with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra every year, something that continued past his retirement. 
  • His string piece to celebrate the anniversary of the Prince Albert Strings Orchestra is awaiting its premiere performance when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
  • Brian Kilian (Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee) – has been to workshop several times. Wayne travelled to Lebanon University to provide a Saito Conducting Workshop and they have worked collaboratively on several projects together.
  • He has worked with a conducting student in the north, and wrote a piece called “Strolling the Meewasin Trail” in which school groups are encouraged to work with local indigenous groups to learn about indigenous drumming and invite the drummers to participate in the composition. Reference: Strolling the Meewasin Trail P2 (conductorschool.com)

Mr. Toews is a well-known Canadian composer and has an extensive music library. He is all about collaboration and created music libraries to share, building community. He strongly believes in building community and the importance of sharing information to ensure the development and success of all musicians.


Additional Presentation and Program Examples:

  • He has been guest presenter at Conductors Guild convention in New York, at the 1994 Midwest International Band and Orchestra clinic, at McGill and Northwestern Universities, at the Canadian Festivals of Youth Orchestras in Banff, and at conventions of the Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Canadian Music Educators Associations.
  • His articles about the method have been published in the NSOA Bulletin, the Instrumentalist, the BCMEA NewsletterThe Music Sceneand SMEA’s Cadenza.

  • He consistently secured Canadian repertoire and included it in his programs. 

  • He organized four international conducting workshops with Prof. Okabe at Canadian universities.
  • He gave workshops for NEOJIBA in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, at Rivers Conservatory in Boston, McGill University in Montreal, PQ and at the Universities of Memphis and Alaska in Fairbanks.
  • Numerous Saskatchewan Music Conference sessions. For example, one hour sessions titled: Saito’s Secret to Developing Clear and Artistic Conducting, and Better Conducting Gestures – Better Music Education. 
  • The founding of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association in 1985 and dedicated 35 years to the organization.
  • An interesting article written by a past participant of the Saito Conducting Workshop: https://www.laurahawley.ca/a-day-in-the-life-of-saskatoon-conductor-pedagogue-wayne-toews/