Born in Trinidad, André Heywood grew up and studied in London, Ontario earning undergraduate degrees in both Biochemistry and Music Education, and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from The University of Western Ontario. A former chorister of the renowned Amabile Boys' and Men's Choirs, Mr. Heywood served as the group's assistant conductor for two years before moving to Minnesota in 2007. Since then he has worked on the campus of Saint John's Abbey and University, serving as Artistic Director of The Saint John's Boys' Choir, conductor of the Saint John's Abbey Schola (monastic choir), Liturgical Music Director at Saint John's Preparatory School, and as an adjunct faculty member at the university where he directs two ensembles and teaches graduate choral conducting. He has twice been awarded by the American Choral Directors' Association of Minnesota - in 2011 with the VocalEssence Creative Programming Award, and in 2013 as the Outstanding Young Director of the Year.
A highly sought after clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor, Mr. Heywood is a well-known specialist in developing young male voices, previously serving as Boychoir Repertoire & Standards Chair at both the state and division levels of ACDA. In 2013 he had the privilege of guest conducting the ACDA-MN Grade 7/8 Boys' Honor Choir. Choirs under his direction have performed at the Oregon Bach Festival, the International Choral Festival for Men and Boys, the Pacific International Children's Choir Festival, and at state and division conferences of the ACDA. Mr. Heywood is also an expert in sacred and liturgical music, having served as a church choir director for the past 15 years. He has sung, toured, and recorded with the Saint John's Gregorian Chant Schola, presented at the Collegeville Conference on Music, Liturgy & the Arts, and his current doctoral research focuses on the use of Gregorian Chant in training young voices. In 2016, he was appointed conductor of the National Catholic Youth Choir.
Mr. Heywood recently completed a two-year sabbatical in Canada where he served as director of the University of Toronto Men's Chorus, Junior Choir Conductor at St. Michael's Choir School, founding conductor of the boychoir program of the Hamilton Children's Choir, director of the 2014 Ontario Music Educators' Association Honour Choir, and as a member of the board of Choirs Ontario. He is currently a doctoral candidate in choral conducting at the University of Toronto, where he studies with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt.