Sudbury Living - September 2007 - (Page 39)

The Talented Mr. Sawa The conductor of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra leads a double life This may surprise you. The conductor of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra is a big Nintendo fan. The stereotype of a stuffy symphony conductor on a podium, literally and figuratively, doesn’t fit the down-to-Earth Victor Sawa. How many maestros can talk about Haydn and hockey as well as Shostakovich and Super Mario? The 57-year-old Montrealborn conductor is celebrating his 10th anniversary with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra this season. This may also surprise you because Sawa doesn’t live in Sudbury and leads a double life as the conductor of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, which performs weekly from August until May. During the symphony season, Sawa arrives in Sudbury a week before scheduled concerts and does intense rehearsals. Weekly rehearsals of the SSO are conducted by the concert master. “Even though I don’t live there, I am a proud Sudburian, says Sawa. The Talented Mr. Sawa is looking forward to the SSO’s 2007/08 season which will be performed in the new Glad Tidings Church auditorium. “Acoustically, it is the best hall we have performed in (in) Sudbury,” says Sawa. The symphony’s previous home was the Fraser Auditorium, which seats about 700 people. The glorified classroom was not designed for symphony concerts performances. Despite the challenges, the BY VICKI GILHULA audience for symphony music has grown in Sudbury. For the past several years the subscription series has sold out and there was a long waiting list for tickets. The new venue can seat about 1,200 people for a concert. He hopes to grow the orchestra from 45 to as many as 65 players this season. “The audience is going to hear a quality of music they haven’t heard here.” Sawa says. He is also enthusiastic about the possibility of the city building a performing arts centre which could seat between 1,500 and 1,800 people. A performing arts centre would be great for the symphony because it would mean better acoustics, larger audiences, increased revenues, more shows, and more players, he says. “It would put Sudbury on the map, which is really, really important. Thunder Bay has a 1,200 hall that’s a jewel box. I couldn’t believe Sudbury was bigger and didn’t have a (concert) hall.” A regulAr guy, Victor SAwA not only SpeAkS engliSh but French, germAn, itAliAn, And SpAniSh, AS well AS “Very broken” JApAneSe And ruSSiAn, collectS StAmpS And plAyS golF. Fall 2007 Sudbury Living 39

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Sudbury Living - September 2007

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