Dr. John Wilkinson, Artistic Director

John Wilkinson has been Music Director and Conductor of the Sault Symphony Orchestra for 40 seasons. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and holds a doctorate in music performance from the University of Michigan.  

Wilkinson studied conducting with Gustav Meier at the University of Michigan, the Tanglewood Music Centre and as a guest of various Canadian orchestras including the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Okanagen Symphony in British Columbia.  In addition, Dr. Wilkinson has been guest conductor with the Sudbury Symphony in Canada, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, the Marquette Symphony, the Florida Festival Orchestra in the United States and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico.

Wilkinson has also been active in the field of opera, operetta and musical theatre.  He has conducted most of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, many of the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan and popular musicals by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Lerner and Loewe and Cole Porter. He has conducted operas by Mozart, Johann Strauss, Humperdinck, and Puccini as well as complete ballets by Prokofiev, Tchaikowsky, and Aaron Copland.

As a performer, Wilkinson has played recitals, chamber music or orchestral music programs recorded and broadcast by the Austrian National Radio Network, the Canadian Broadcasting System, Public Broadcasting Service Radio and PBS Television in the United States. Beyond his activities as a conductor and performer, Dr. Wilkinson has earned special recognition from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the United States.  He was awarded five fellowships for research in the area of orchestral music and advanced study at the University of Michigan, Harvard University and Rutgers University. 


In 2007, Wilkinson was honored by the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Province of Ontario for 30 years of musical leadership for the benefit of the community and the citizens of Canada.

Dr. Wilkinson and his wife Cathy, principal oboe of the Sault Symphony, are the parents of six children and reside in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

                           Canusa Woodwind Quintet:

John Wilkinson (clarinet), Cathy Wilkinson (oboe), Barbara Finch (bassoon), Rob Galbraith (flute) and Brian Carter (French horn) 

Canusa Woodwind Quintet