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2006 International Saito Conducting Workshop

July 23 - 29, 2006 on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Click here to see photos of the workshop

Click here to see bios of the participants

Students in the2006 International Saito Conducting workshop began to develop the extraordinary technique which enables them to express their musical ideas with clarity and artistry.

The workshop used compositions which are rich with conducting challenges. From the first lesson, students learned how the motion of their arm elicits sounds.

Click here to see the first exercise.

Training of the arm began with a swinging motion to improve precision and to indicate internal rhythms and subdivision. Students were taught to make "Into-point" and "From-point" motions to expand their technical and expressive capabilities. Training of the arm was always accomplished in a musical context. Demonstrations and descriptions facilitated and accelerated technical development.

The method provides a comprehensive study of all major aspects of conducting as a foundation for further study. Students were challenged to express their own interpretations and empowered to apply gestural concepts to new music. Students learned how to make the eight types of gestures and how to choose those which best expressed their ideas.

Students received group and individual instruction from Wayne Toews and Morihiro Okabe. The students followed a detailed course of study, based upon the Saito Conducting method textbook, and each was given a block of time to work with the teachers. Students also had the opportunity to observe during the lessons of other students. During the lessons, students conducted duo pianists who act as the "ensemble" and who respond accurately and sensitively to the conductor's gestures. Dianne Gryba and Bonnie Nicholson, who are two of the finest pianists you will find anywhere, participated in the workshop. Because of their previous work with the method they were able to assist in giving musical and verbal feedback.

Video recordings were made of all sessions on MiniDV tape and digitized to produce a DVD for each participant.

The workshop began at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, 2006 and ended at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2006 with a party hosted by Judy and Wayne Toews.



On the first evening, participants were treated to a welcome reception with local musical dinitaries and members of the Japanese community. Dr. Doug Thorpe made a presentation to Prof. Okabe on behalf of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association.

The class viewed video recordings of Joseph Rosenstock, Hideo Saito and Kazuyoshi Akiyama.

Thanks to the co-operation of the Saskatoon Concert Band, George Charpentier, Director and to local musicians from the university and the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra the participants had the opportunity to conduct a large group.

Most participants were housed in the Lutheran Seminary, University of Saskatchewan. The classes were held in the chapel and a classroom in the Seminary.

Wayne Toews and Morihiro Okabe were instructors

They were assisted by Kenneth Hsieh who translated for Prof. Okabe and elaborated on his ideas.


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For further information contact:

Wayne Toews

1610 Morgan Avenue,

Saskatoon, SK.,

Canada, S7H 2S1

Telephone: (306) 373-6408


© 2005 Wayne Toews. All rights reserved.



Page revised August 1, 2006