Meet the Conductors

Alain Trudel

Music Director

Music Director of the Toledo Symphony (USA), conductor Alain Trudel has been praised for his “immense talent as conductor, musician and performer” (La Presse). He is also Music Director of l’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, Principal Youth and Family Conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. Trudel was also the conductor of the CBC Radio Orchestra, taking the orchestra to new heights of artistic quality, as well as public and critical acclaim.

Trudel has conducted every major orchestra in Canada as well as orchestras in the UK, USA, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Japan, Hong-Kong, Malaysia and Latin America. Trudel made his Opera de Montréal debut in 2009 in Mozart’s Magic Flute and conducted the live recording of their 30th anniversary gala. He has been a regular guest since and in March 2017 he conducted to great acclaim (“The entire audience was on its feet for another standing ovation, with concertgoers shouting “wow” and “bravo.” Rolling Stone Magazine, “The Wall Triumphs in Montréal,”  Le Figaro, Paris) the world premiere operatic version of “The Wall”. Trudel will also lead the American premiere at the Cincinnati Opera in July 2018.

Always committed to upcoming generations of musicians, Trudel was Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2012 to 2014 and has regularly been invited to conduct the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. From 2011 to 2015 Trudel was Professor and conductor of the orchestra and opera orchestra at the University of Western Ontario and is now guest professor for orchestra and opera at the University of Ottawa.

First known to the public as “the Jascha Heifetz of the trombone” (Le monde de la musique), Alain Trudel has been a guest soloist with orchestras worldwide including Philharmonique de Radio-France, Hong-Kong Philharmonic, Austrian Radio Orchestra, Festival Musica Strasbourg (France), Klangbogen Festival (Vienna), Akiyoshidai and Hamamatsu festival (Japan). Alain is also a respected composer with performances across America and in Asia.

Alain Trudel was the first Canadian to be a Yamaha international artist, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Virginia Parker, Charles Cros (France), Opus prize and Heinz Unger prizes. He has been named an Ambassador of Canadian Music by the Canadian Music Centre and received a Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012.


Wasim Hawary

Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras Artistic Director & Conductor

Mr. Wasim Hawary, a lifelong resident of the Toledo area, received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from Bowling Green State University.  While at BGSU, Wasim held the position of Principal Bassist in the Philharmonia. Wasim has been teaching music in the public school system since 1998 and is currently the orchestra director at Maumee High School. He served as the Assistant Director of the TSYO from 1999-2005 and has also taught both guitar and piano at Owens Community College. Wasim returned to the TSYO in 2009 as the director of the Toledo String Sinfonietta and, just one year after his return, had the pleasure of watching the group size double and expand into the Toledo Youth Symphonic Orchestra. It is with great pleasure that Wasim has assumed the role of Artistic Director of the, now three, Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras and conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wasim actively performs in the region with various ensembles on his main instrument, the bass. When not on stage or in classroom, Wasim also spends a great deal of time in various recording studios writing, performing, and producing all genres of music. His music has been used in Feature Films and on the USA network.  Wasim lives in Perrysburg with his wife Kristin and his three children Norah, Juni, and Gordon.


Matthew Forte

Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras Conductor

Matthew Forte is Director of Orchestral Studies and Assistant Professor of Music History at the University of Toledo, where he serves as chair of strings, conducts the UT Symphony Orchestra, and teaches courses in conducting and music history. Prior to his current appointment, Matthew was a Rasmussen Fellow at Michigan State University, where he studied with Kevin Noe and served as music director of the MSU Concert Orchestra, service for which he was awarded the 2017 MSU Distinguished Teaching Prize. During his tenure, the Concert Orchestra was revitalized: orchestra membership nearly doubled, audience attendance tripled, and the group quickly became an indispensable part of the cultural fabric of the university as a whole.

An enthusiastic supporter of young musicians, Matthew also serves as a conductor for the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras and for the Greater Toledo International Youth Orchestra and is in frequent demand nationally as a clinician and educator to students of all levels. In addition to his work as an educator, Dr. Forte acts as cover conductor for the St. Louis Symphony and is engaged frequently by the Aspen Music Festival and School.


Betsy Cranston 

Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras Conductor

Betsy Cranston is in her twelfth year as a teacher in Perrysburg Schools, where she began her career. Betsy is an orchestra director for students in grades 5-8. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she also serves as the Perrysburg Junior High Music Department Head and chair of the OMEA District 1 Junior High Honors Orchestra. She earned her undergraduate degree in music education from The Ohio State University and received her graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Toledo. A cellist, Betsy is a founding member of The Asteria String Quartet and performs regularly around Toledo and the surrounding area. Ms. Cranston is excited to return to the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras in the role of Concert Strings conductor. She resides in Toledo with her daughters Layla and Lydia.



Kathleen Schnerer

Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras Conductor

Kathleen Schnerer is in her fifth year as an Orchestra teacher at Perrysburg Schools, where she began her career. Kathleen is currently teaching 7-8th grade orchestra at Perrysburg Junior High School. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she teaches private Suzuki lessons and group classes at the Toledo Symphony School of Music. A violinist since age three, Kathleen has studied with Vasile Beluska and Merwin Siu and performs regularly in the Northwest Ohio region. Actively involved as a member of the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) and American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Kathleen currently serves as a chair of the OMEA District 1 Junior High Honors Orchestra, an ASTA mentor to new orchestra teachers, OMEA NW Region Secretary/Treasurer, and member of the ASTA K-12 Orchestra Committee. Kathleen graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, specializing in Instrumental String and General Classroom Music Education and was a recipient of the Dr. Paul Makara Violin Scholarship. Kathleen is currently completing coursework for a Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan. Ms. Schnerer is looking forward to her second year with the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestra Concert Strings in the role of Concert Strings conductor. 


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