Wayne Toews

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Wayne J. Toews

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Wayne Toews was born in Winnipeg, MB, Canada where he began to study the violin at the age of 4. His early musical experience included singing with the Westmount Boys Choir and serving as concertmaster of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra. He was active on the school student council, in Scouting and in DeMolay. He studied violin and composition with Dr. Murray Adaskin at the University of Saskatchewan where he received B.A. and B.Ed. degrees. He played for nine seasons in the Saskatoon Symphony, first on violin and later on viola. He performed on double bass and percussion in the U of S Wind Orchestra under Dwaine Nelson. He was a member of the Saskatchewan Jubilee Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler and played in the orchestras for the touring shows of Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck, Ray Price and André Gagnon.

Mr. Toews taught music in Saskatoon schools from 1969. He started the band program at City Park Collegiate and neighbourhood schools and in 1976 began a twenty-five year career at Aden Bowman Collegiate where he taught band, orchestra, choir, general music and jazz band. Groups under his direction earned more than 50 first place awards. On two occasions his jazz groups won first place awards at national festivals. He has served as president and board member of several professional organizations. He helped to found and was board member of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association for 35 years.

From 1983 until 2009 he was director of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra in association with George Charpentier. The orchestra represented Saskatchewan at two conventions of the Canadian Music Educators Association. He led the orchestra in the 1988, 1990 and 1992 Canadian Festivals of Youth Orchestras, the 1996 and 1998 Banff International Festival of Youth Orchestras and the 1999 and 2001 festivals of Quebec Youth Orchestras (AOJQ). The orchestra under his direction was awarded the Christopher Gledhill national orchestra performance award by the Canadian Music Educators' Association award six successive times in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003.

He organized the Jack Johnson Memorial Music Fund through the Saskatoon Community Foundation to provide annual grants in support of young Saskatoon orchestral musicians.

Mr. Toews began to study the Saito Conducting method in 1974 at the Courtenay Youth Music Camp with Professor Morihiro Okabe and Maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama. In 1983 he continued his studies with Prof. Okabe at the Toho Gakuen School of Music, Tokyo. He prepared the English edition of the Saito Conducting Method text that was completed with the assistance of Fumihiko Torigai, Morihiro Okabe and Kazuyoshi Akiyama and published in Tokyo in 1988. His articles about the method have been published in the NSOA Bulletin, the Instrumentalist, the BCMEA Newsletter, The Music Scene and SMEA's Cadenza. He organized four international conducting workshops with Prof. Okabe at Canadian universities. 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. 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, TN and Alaska in Fairbanks.  Since 2006 he has been the organizer and principal instructor of the International Saito Conducting Workshop in Saskatoon. Since 2010 the workshop has been a project of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association. 

Among his published works are an elementary music theory booklet, a clarinet resource book, a bass guitar book and several curriculum guides. He has created several computer programs including Subjective Tones and An Introduction to the Saito Conducting Method.

Mr. Toews served as guest conductor of honour groups and professional orchestras and has conducted the premieres of contemporary works by Canadian composers Jack Johnson, David Kaplan, Monte Keene Pishny-Floyd, Susan Bond Hurka, Piotr Grella-Mozejko, Linda Purves, Gareth Cook and David Scott as well as his own works.

In the fall of 2004 he became founding director of the University of Saskatchewan Chamber Orchestra.

He received the "Outstanding Achievement Award" from the Saskatchewan Music Educators' Association in 1987, the 1990 " Golden Wheel Award for Excellence in Arts and Education" from the Rotary Clubs of Saskatoon, the 2001 Orchestral Development award from the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association, the 2009 Distinguished Band Director award from the Saskatchewan Band Association and the "Honourary Life Membership Award" from the Saskatchewan Music Educators' Association in 2013. He is a Life Member of the Canadian Federation of Musicians, Local #553.

From 2008 to 2018 he was Orchestra division chair for MusicFest Canada.  In that role he created the Canadian String Orchestra, an auditioned group of young Canadian string players.  It became known as the Thomastik-Infeld Canadian String Orchestra after that organization became sponsor and the orchestra grew and thrived.

Mr. Toews holds a Masters in Music Education degree and a certificate in educational technology from Northwestern University where he developed a multimedia computer program to demonstrate the Saito conducting method.

He retired from teaching for the Saskatoon Public Board of Education in June 2001. He remains active as a composer, arranger, adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor.

Wayne Toews

1610 Morgan Avenue,

Saskatoon, SK.,

Canada, S7H 2S1

Telephone: (306) 373-6408

Click HERE to E-mail


© 2005 Wayne Toews. All rights reserved.



Page revised  12Nov2023