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Timothy Sawyer is a widely known choral conductor and music educator. He received formal training at Bethel University (St. Paul), at the University of Minnesota, and in doctoral-level study in choral conducting at the University of Iowa. His conducting teachers include Sweden's Eric Ericson, Robert Berglund, William Hatcher, Gregg Smith, Vance George, and the late Margaret Hillis. In addition to numerous past performances as tenor soloist, as a choral professional he has recorded and performed throughout Europe and the United States with several of America's noted professional choirs: Dale Warland Singers, VocalEssence, Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and others. Since 1989, Sawyer has been a member of the music faculty at University of Northwestern, where he conducts the Northwestern Choir, Varsity Men's Chorus, teaches conducting, and serves as Director of Choral Activities. Choirs under his direction have performed throughout the United States, Europe and South America, for state and divisional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and for the Minnesota Music Educators Association. From 1997–2004, Sawyer served as assistant artistic director of the Minnesota Chorale, the symphonic chorus of the Minnesota Orchestra, an ensemble which he guest conducted several times at the invitation of Doc Severinsen. In 2004, he was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of The Two Rivers Chorale, a dynamic community choir based in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Cited in Outstanding Young Americans, he is also listed in Who's Who Among America's Teachers, Who's Who in American Education, Who's Who in America, and shared a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance as a choral participant in the acclaimed Oregon Bach Festival Chorus recording of Krzysztof Penderecki's Credo. He served as a member of the steering committee for the Sixth World Choral Symposium held in Minneapolis in August of 2002. Sawyer is frequently called upon as an adjudicator and clinician for vocal and choral festivals and all-state choirs in the region, nationally and internationally, most recently in Hungary and the Czech Republic.
2010 brings him for the first time to Hong Kong, California and England. An enthusiastic teacher of conducting, Sawyer has taught and coached conductors at the Toronto Bach Festival, and is the Associate Director of the conducting master class at the Oregon Bach Festival. He has also taught at summer conducting symposia at the University of Minnesota and St. John's University. He is a member of the board of Music in World Cultures, an international faith-based organization at the forefront of a growing movement dedicated to the establishment and advancement of the use of music as a strategic tool in developing cross-cultural relationships. In that role, he also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the International Music Academy in Ukraine. He has also served as choir director at The Colonial Church of Edina since 1995. Sawyer lives in suburban Minneapolis with two singing redheads named Erika and Emily, and his wife, violinist Heidi Kahl Sawyer.