OUR BOARD

The Board of the Council of Canadian Bassoonists includes members from BC to Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes and international members. Please use the contact form if you are interested in standing for election or if you have Board members to recommend for the future.
Christopher Millard

CHRISTOPHER MILLARD

President 

Christopher Millard has had a distinguished career as a performer and educator.  He recently retired from his position as Principal Bassoonist for Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. Prior to his tenure with the NACO, Mr. Millard served 29 years as principal bassoon for both the Vancouver Symphony and the CBC Radio Orchestra.

In addition to his work at the University of Ottawa, he was a bassoon professor at Northwestern University for 7 years.  He gave regular masterclasses at the National Orchestra Institute, Rice University, the Curtis Institute, Indiana University, Manhattan School of Music, and the New World Symphony.  He was the bassoon instructor for Canada’s National Youth Orchestra for 20 years and taught for many summers at the Orford and Domaine Forget Academies.  His ensemble coaching has included Gold Medalists at the Fischoff International Competition. A Juno award winner, his recordings span a broad range of repertoire including a volume in the prestigious OrchestraPro series of orchestral excerpts. Mr. Millard’s students occupy orchestral positions in the Metropolitan Opera, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon, Houston, Indianapolis, Omaha, Memphis, National Symphony, Cleveland and many others.

In addition to his work with the NACO, Mr. Millard was the Principal bassoon for the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra and made annual appearances at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. He was the creator and host of the NAC’s classical musical podcast and has served on executive director and music director search committees for the NAC. Mr. Millard was a student of the legendary Sol Schoenbach at the Curtis Institute and coached extensively with the great French flutist Marcel Moyse. 

Mr. Millard is a noted authority on reed acoustics and a skilled woodwind technician. He  is the Lead Design Consultant for Backun Musical Services as they develop their upcoming line of student, college and professional bassoons.

Neil Bishop

Neil Bishop

Secretary

Neil Bishop is a reed-making recluse from St. John’s Newfoundland. He began playing the bassoon in 2006 with the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra and performed with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra in their 2007-2008 season.

In 2008, Neil moved to Toronto to study at the Royal Conservatory’s prestigious orchestral training program, the Glenn Gould School (GGS). While attending the GGS Neil had the privilege of studying with many of Canada’s top pedagogues and performers, as well as performing with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra.

Neil diversified his career as a bassoonist when he became part of the world’s first electric bassoon quartet cover band, Das Fagott Mannschaft (DFM). DFM performed at various venues, special events, and music festivals across Ontario, notably ScotiaBank’s Buskerfest, Sudbury’s Northern Light Festival, Toronto Pride, and the Toronto Jazz Festival.

In 2017 Neil relocated to Saint John to join Sistema New Brunswick, where he established the Saint John Centre bassoon studio. Neil is thrilled to be coaching the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra bassoon section this year.

Jesse Read

Nicolas Richard

Treasurer

Nicolas Richard is the Associate Principal bassoon for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  Previously, he was a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and had previously served as Principal Bassoon for the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as guest principal bassoon with the National Ballet of Canada and the Windsor Symphony and has equally enjoyed performing as a substitute with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.

Beyond his orchestral pursuits, Nicolas has appeared as a soloist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Ottawa Orchestra. He won the second prize in the OSM Competition and is the first prize winner of the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Competition, the Ottawa Symphony’s Sénécal-Mozart Prize, and the University of Ottawa’s Concerto Competition. Nicolas is a recipient of awards from the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation and the O’Brien Foundation. Nicolas has spent summers in the United States at the Music Academy of the West and the National Repertory Orchestra. In Canada, he has spent summers with the National Academy Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Nicolas completed a Master of Music Degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, studying with Benjamin Kamins. He received his Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa, where he studied with Christopher Millard and Richard Hoenich. Away from the bassoon, he enjoys running, reading the given week’s New Yorker, and is a big opera fan.

Jesse Read

Gabe Azzie

A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Gabe Azzie joined Symphony Nova Scotia as Principal Bassoon in January 2019. Equipped with a deep passion for teaching, he has also been on faculty as bassoon instructor at Acadia University’s School of Music since the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to help shape the next generation of musicians.

Gabe completed his Master’s in the Spring of 2019 at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of William Winstead. Prior to moving to Cincinnati, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa, where he studied with Christopher Millard. During his time in Ottawa, he performed frequently with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre symphonique de Gatineau. He was also called upon as a pit musician for Broadway Across Canada’s Ottawa performances of Roger and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.

In addition to his university training, Gabe has performed with Boris Brott’s National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and has had the opportunity to tour Canada and Portugal with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, where he worked under the batons of Emmanuel Villaume, Michael Francis, and Perry So. Other teachers include Kathleen McLean, Mathieu Harel, Stéphane Levesque, Richard Hoenich, and Jo Ann Simpson.

Outside of music, Gabe is an avid hockey and football fan, and also enjoys swimming, travelling, and hiking.

Emily Carlsen, bassoonist in the wild

Emily Carlsen

Emily Gibb (née Carlsen) is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in education at Thompson Rivers University. She has obtained a Diploma in Music from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, as well as a Bachelor’s of Music, Bachelor’s of Education, and an Early Years Education Diploma from The University of British Columbia. In addition to her academic achievements, Emily has a wealth of experience as a skilled band instrument repair technician, with a particular focus on restoring clarinets and bassoons.

Emily has been honored with multiple academic awards, such as the UBC Outstanding Practicum Award (2023), Donald and Ellen Poulter Scholarship (2023), UBC Outstanding Community Field Experience Award (2022), Shirley M. Wong Bursary in Education (2022), Leone and Robert Hammond Memorial Bursary (2021), S. Cyril Maplethorp Memorial Scholarship in Music (2021), Dr. Zohreh Izadi Memorial Entrance Award (2020), and the Mildred Johnson Scholarship in Music (2020). 

Furthermore, she possesses expertise as a K-12 educator and holds credentials in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme from The University of Western Ontario.  Emily established the Criminal Justice Scholarship for the 2022/2023 academic year in collaboration with Surrey Schools, which was granted to a young individual impacted by crime.

Emily resides in the lower mainland of British Columbia alongside her affectionate husband and lively son.

Vince Ellin

Distinguished bassoonist Vincent Ellin won the Principal position in the Winnipeg Symphony when he was 22. Since arriving in Canada he has been an integral part of the musical community, both as an orchestral musician and as a soloist and chamber musician. He has performed as a soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, CBC Winnipeg and Music Baroque Orchestras.

Invited by the Dutch Double Reed Society, he performed the Skallkotas “Cycle”, in Rotterdam with musicians from Amsterdam and Paris. He is an avid fan of chamber music and has worked with all the major chamber music groups in Winnipeg, including the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, Music Inter Alia, Aurora Musicale, and others. His studies have taken him to Boston, New York and Vienna.

Philip Morehead

Barbara Finch

Originally from BC, Barbara was studying English at the University of Victoria (UVic) and flute at the Victoria Conservatory when the bassoon “found” her. She went on to complete a B.Mus. in Bassoon Performance at UVic followed by a M.Mus in Orchestral Performance at McGill. Barbara was a member of NYO in 1995,1996, the National Academy Orchestra in 1998 and was section bassoon of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra from 1998 – 2005. Over the years she also worked with Pacific Opera, the Victoria Symphony and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as well as several chamber music ensembles, including Consortium Auroa Borealis in Thunder Bay where she regularly performed both solo and chamber works.

Now based in Sault Ste. Marie, Barbara continues to perform with her quintet, CanUSA and joins in with the Sault Symphony Orchestra. She has taught in the elementary school system planning, rehearsing and directing performances for grades JK through 8 on a contract basis. In 2018 Barbara completed a post-grad in Public Relations and Event Management. She is currently working for Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG) as a Sr. Community Programs Specialist, negotiating sponsorships, assisting with volunteer programs and fundraising campaigns.

In addition to her work as a bassoonist, Barbara has experience and expertise in event management (in-person and virtual), public relations, volunteer coordination, outreach, negotiations, database management, social media and fundraising.

Jo Ann Simpson

Stephen Franse

Stephen Franse is a native of Houston Texas…studied with Paul Tucci  (HSO), Kenneth Moore (BMUS Oberlin ’69) ,   Bernard Garfield, Marcel Moyse.

Principal, Akron SO (’66-69); Member US Army Band, Wash. DC (69-72); Principal, Richmond SO (70-71); Baroque bassoon with Smithsonian Ens.; Principal, Calgary Philharmonic (’73-11) ,frequent soloist, extra (11-19).

Teacher at Univ. of Calgary, Mount Royal Academy, Sask. School of the Arts

Heckel  1931, Buffet Crampon  ca  1950

Music Director , Calgary Civic Symphony (83-87), Calgary Concert Band (89-97)

 

Darren Hicks

Bassoonist Darren Hicks believes music lives at the crossroads of the real world and the intangible stuff of the human experience and his students will tell you how often he uses up precious lesson time to wax poetically about the metaphysical aspects of creating art. Darren spent his childhood in the small rural town of Middleton, Nova Scotia, where music captivated him early as a means of understanding and expressing emotions, something he often struggled to do with words. His piano teacher Maureen MacLean, the King’s Chorale Children’s Chorus, Middleton Regional High School (MRHS) band teacher Richard Bennett, the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir, and bassoon teacher Robert (Bob) McCarthy helped introduce Darren to the breadth, language, and joy of music that propelled him toward further study at the university level.

Darren is eternally grateful to his teacher and mentor, Christopher Millard, who took a chance on a naïve kid from Nova Scotia by accepting Darren into his studio at the University of Ottawa. After four years of intense but enriching and life-altering study in the bassoon and the art of music-making Darren earned a Bachelor of Music degree in bassoon performance in 2012. He is ecstatic to have succeeded Chris as principal bassoon of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and strives to carry the legacy forward.

In search of further exploration into the depths of expression with the bassoon as his tool, Darren pursued graduate studies at the Yale School of Music in New Haven, Connecticut with Frank Morelli. Mr. Morelli encouraged Darren to forge a deeper connection with music to try and say something, to offer something to those listening in order to have that shared moment of connection. Another important figure in his time at Yale was aural skills professor Joan Panetti, who offered Darren a new lens through which to view the structure and alchemy of music. Joan’s classes caused a fundamental shift and his ears will never be the same (for the better). Darren graduated from the Yale School of Music in 2014 with a Master of Music degree in bassoon performance and was the recipient of the Dean’s Prize and the Nyfenger Prize in Woodwind Excellence.

Darren continued his education as a Rebanks Family Fellow (2014-15) at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto. From there, he joined the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida in 2015. It was at New World where Darren honed his musical language and skill as an orchestral bassoonist and he is forever thankful for the opportunities afforded to him while a Fellow at the New World Symphony, including playing the Weber Bassoon Concerto in March of 2018 and giving a lecture recital on the bassoon and its place as both clown and cleric of the orchestra. A link to that lecture recital can be found at the bottom of this article: https://www.nws.edu/news/from-clown-to-cleric-exploring-the-bassoon/ 

A number of formative summer festivals and bassoon teachers have influenced and nurtured Darren and he would be remiss to not mention: the beautiful summers in the Swiss Alps as a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra (2013-15) where he was reacquainted with bassoonist Whitney Crockett who has had an indelible effect on Darren’s bassooning; the many visiting faculty at the New World Symphony, especially Daniel Matsukawa and Judith Leclair; the two summers spent at the Aspen Music Festival and School (2018, 2019) with Nancy Goeres, a remarkably warm and generous teacher; and his incredible colleagues from each of the these experiences who were and are inspiring.

Darren was immensely fortunate to join the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in the autumn of 2018 as Associate Principal Bassoon and will cherish his time there. After four seasons with the TSO, he was thrilled to win the Principal Bassoon audition with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, where he began playing in the autumn of 2022. However, Darren’s ties to the National Arts Centre go back further than this: he played his first ever professional gig with this orchestra and in 2012 he received the NACO Bursary award. Darren is thrilled to be back in this city with this ensemble and looks forward to how he can steward orchestral music throughout his new home and foster and contribute to communities across the National Capital Region and Canada.

Darren is over the moon to have the chance to share his music with people on a daily basis and still finds it surreal that this is his career. Many thanks to the people that make this possible, including Ben Bell of Bell Bassoons Ltd. who built Darren’s bassoon, his family, his therapist, and his support circle of dear close friends. When not crying over his reed desk, Darren goes for long meandering walks while listening to music or podcasts, browses vinyl and books, and feeds his incessant sugar addiction while scrolling through cute cat pics on social media.

 

Michael Hope

Michael Hope is a native of Toronto, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, and has held the full-time position of Assistant Principal bassoonist in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra since 1982. He is a student of Bernard Garfield, Sol Schoenbach, Christopher Weait and Otto Eifert, with extensive woodwind ensemble and orchestra training from John deLancie. In addition to his bassoon-playing passions, he is also an accomplished professional singer.  He has performed as a pops vocal soloist with almost all Canadian Orchestras and his vocal albums have received award nominations and critical acclaim.

In addition to making music, he is obsessed with NHL hockey. He also enjoys cooking, repairing his 24-year-old Toyota Camry and watching vintage episodes of Dallas on TV with his Mom! Learn more about Michael by visiting his website at www.michaelhope.net

Jo Ann Simpson

Stéphane Lévesque

Né à Montréal, Stéphane Lévesque est basson solo à l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal depuis septembre 1998. Il a également été basson solo de l’Orchestre du Centre national des Arts du Canada et de l’Orchestre philharmonique de Buffalo, basson solo invité de l’Orchestre Saito Kinen et du Mito Chamber Orchestra au Japon, et il fut membre du membre du New World Symphony de Miami Beach, du Solti Orchestral Project à Carnegie Hall et de l’Orchestre National des Jeunes du Canada.

Lévesque s’est produit à titre de soliste à plusieurs reprises avec l’OSM ainsi qu’avec des ensembles tels l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, le New World Symphony, Les Violons du Roy, l’ensemble Thirteen Strings d’Ottawa, et le U.S. Army Orchestra. Professeur de basson à l’École de musique Schulich de l’Université McGill depuis 1998, M. Lévesque a donné des classes de maître partout dans le monde, notamment au Curtis Institute, aux universités Yale et Northwestern, à la Royal Academy of Music de Londres, aux conservatoires d’Adélaide et Sydney, en Australie, de Lausanne et Genève, en Suisse, et au Conservatoire national supérieur de Lyon.

Artiste invité au Centre d’arts Orford depuis 2000, il est le coordinateur du stage de musique de chambre Les Vents d’Orford. Il a également enseigné à la faculté de musique de l’Université de Montréal, au Conservatoire de Montréal, et au Banff Centre. Stéphane Lévesque a commandé et créé de nouvelles œuvres pour basson de Gary Kulesha (Sonate pour basson et piano, 2011) et Ana Sokolovic (Concerto pour basson et sept cordes graves, 2009). Il a également joué en créations nationales ou locales des œuvres solo ou de musique de chambre de Elliott Carter, Michael Daugherty, Sofia Gubaidulina, Mathieu Lussier et Arthur Weisberg. Diplômé du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal et de l’École de musique de l’Université Yale, Stéphane Lévesque a étudié avec Rodolfo Masella, Stephen Maxym et Frank Morelli. Il joue sur un basson fabriqué en 2018 par Benson Bell de Lakefield, en Ontario.

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Born in Montréal, Stéphane Lévesque has been principal bassoon with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since September 1998. He was also principal bassoon of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, guest principal bassoon of the Saito Kinen Orchestra and of the Mito Chamber Orchestra in Japan, and a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, of the Solti Orchestral Project at Carnegie Hall, and of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Mr. Lévesque has appeared as a soloist on several occasions with the OSM and with ensembles such as the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the New World Symphony, Les Violons du Roy, the Thirteen Strings Ensemble in Ottawa, and the U.S. Army Orchestra. Assistant professor of bassoon at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, Mr. Lévesque has given master classes throughout the world, including at the Curtis Institute of Music, Northwestern University, Yale University, the University of Michigan, the Royal Academy of Music in London (UK), the conservatoriums of Adelaide and Sydney in Australia, the Hautes Écoles de Musique in Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland, and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon.

A guest artist at the Orford Arts Centre since 2000, he is the coordinator of the Orford Winds chamber music workshop. He has also taught at the Faculty of Music of the Université de Montréal, the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, and at the Banff Centre. Stéphane Lévesque has commissioned and premiered new Canadian works by Gary Kulesha (Sonata for bassoon and piano, 2011) and Ana Sokolovic (Concerto for bassoon and seven low strings, 2009). He has also performed national and local premieres of solo and chamber music works by numerous composers, including Elliott Carter, Michael Daugherty, Sofia Gubaidulina, Mathieu Lussier and Arthur Weisberg. A graduate of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and of the Yale University School of Music, Stéphane Lévesque studied with Rodolfo Masella, Stephen Maxym and Frank Morelli. He plays on a bassoon made in 2018 by Benson Bell of Lakefield, Ontario.

KATHLEEN MCLEAN

Kathleen McLean is one of the most acclaimed orchestral bassoonists in North America. Internationally recognized, McLean was the associate principal bassoon of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1992 to 2009 and is a sought-after chamber and orchestral musician, recitalist, and teacher.

She was appointed to the faculty of the University of Toronto in 1989, became a faculty member at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Glenn Gould Professional School in 2002, and began as a bassoon instructor with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 2009.

McLean’s former orchestral appointments include principal bassoon of the Canadian Opera Company and guest principal bassoon with the London Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Since 2001, she has toured extensively with the prestigious World Orchestra for Peace.

McLean has participated in many chamber music festivals, including the Evian International Festival, Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, Scotia Festival, and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

She performs frequently with New Music Concerts, Amici Ensemble, and is a founding member of the Caliban Quartet, Toronto Wind Quintet, and the Canadian Winds.

Philip Morehead

Philip Morehead

Philip Morehead recently retired after 34 years as Head of Music Staff for Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Ryan Opera Center. During this time he also served as Chorus Master (1986-1991) and Music Administrator (1991-1996).

As a conductor, Morehead has conducted for Lyric Opera of Chicago performances of Verdi Un ballo in maschera, Gilbert & Sullivan Mikado, Strauss Die Fledermaus, and Anthony Davis Amistad, as well as student performances of CarmenPagliacciThe Cunning Little Vixen, and The Magic Flute. Morehead is also a freelance pianist, harpsichordist, and conductor.

He is currently a Music Consultant for the Highlands Opera Studio in Haliburton, Ontario, where he has conducted Gounod’s Faust, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Puccini’s La Bohème and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.

Morehead is the keyboard member of the Muskoka Big Band and editor of The New International Dictionary of Music and the Penguin Thesaurus. He recently began to revisit the bassoon, which he studied in the 1970s with John Miller.

SUZANNE NELSEN

SUZANNE NELSEN grew up on a pig farm in Alberta Canada.  Her home was filled with the sounds of music.  Her parents were opera singers and her siblings are also professional musicians.  In 1995, during post-graduate study at McGill University, she won position with the. Montreal Symphony where she stayed for 5 years until her appointment in 2000 to the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras.  She has recorded numerous albums with both the Montreal and Boston Symphonies, 5 of which have won Grammy Awards.

She was a founding member of the New England Bassoon Quartet and a member of Zephyr Winds, in residence at the Boston Conservatory.  Suzanne has taught bassoon and chamber music at McGill University, Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Boston University and at New England Conservatory.  She was co-director of the bassoon seminar at Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) for 4 summers and was invited to teach at National Youth Orchestra of Canada in the summer of 2022.  She is now professor of bassoon at New England Conservatory.

As a mother of two one of her favorite things to do is lecture demonstrations for kids, students and parents about life as a professional musician.  She has made many educations videos for the Boston Symphony Orchestra that can be found on the BSO website.

Marlene Ngalissamy - bassoon

JULIA NOLAN

Dr. Julia Nolan maintains an active performing schedule committed to promoting new works for saxophone.  She has commissioned works by many Canadian composers including Stephen ChatmanKeith Hamel, Colin MacDonald, Robert Pritchard, Nicolas Scherzinger, Jacquie Leggatt, Hope Lee, Fred Stride, Neal Currie, Alain Mayrand, Alan Matheson, and Jeffrey Ryan. In July 2013, Julia Nolan taught at the Taiwan International Saxophone Camp and gave master classes in Taipei. Julia Nolan was the Head Judge at the First International Saxophone Symposium and Competition (ISSAC) in Columbus, Georgia in October 2012.Julia Nolan premiered Jeffrey Ryan’s concerto Brazen with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Bramwell Tovey conducting) and with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra (Bernhard Gueller conducting) in April 2012. In July, 2012 Julia Nolan performed Jan Freidlin’s Broceliande Concerto, premiered a Polys Tonos by Colin MacDonald, and gave a lecture based on her PhD thesis: Fostering Artistry and Pedagogy: Conversations with Artist-teachers Frederick Hemke, Eugene Rousseau, and Donald Sinta at the World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland. Julia Nolan was a guest artist at the Hong Kong International Saxophone Symposium in July 2011. In November 2010, Nolan was an international judge at the 5th Adolphe Sax International Saxophone Competition, in Dinant, Belgium.

Marlene Ngalissamy - bassoon

MARLENE NGALISSAMY

Marlène Ngalissamy was appointed principal bassoon of l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec in May 2022. She has also performed with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and as guest principal bassoon with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Marlène studied with Mathieu Harel and Stéphane Lévesque at the Montréal Conservatory, before completing a post graduate diploma at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Daniel Matsukawa. She is an alumna of the Domaine Forget, Orford, and Marlboro chamber music festival programs, as well as the Pacific Music Festival in Japan and Pablo Casals festival in France. In 2020 and 2021, Marlène travelled to London, England to perform with the Chineke! Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall, where she recorded works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. She was recently invited to perform with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in a program of works for bassoon, voice, and piano, and is on faculty of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada since summer 2023. Marlene has given masterclasses at the University of Ottawa, online with Bassoons Without Borders, and at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec.

Richard Ranti

Richard Ranti joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as associate principal bassoon in 1989; he is also principal bassoon in the Boston Pops Orchestra. He teaches bassoon at New England Conservatory and teaches private lessons and master classes throughout the United States and Canada.

Mr. Ranti is an active chamber musician and recitalist in the Boston area and beyond. Born in Montreal, Richard Ranti started bassoon at age ten, studying with Sidney Rosenberg and David Carroll. After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy, he studied with Sol Schoenbach at the Curtis Institute of Music.

At age nineteen, he won the second bassoon position in the Philadelphia Orchestra; he spent six years with that orchestra, the last as Acting Associate Principal. A 1982 Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Mr. Ranti has also participated in the Spoleto and Marlboro festivals. He won second prize in the 1982 Toulon International Bassoon Competition and was the recipient of two Canada Council grants.

 

Jesse Read

Jesse Read

Jesse Read has served as Principal Bassoonist of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera National Company, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, North Hollands Symphony Orchestra,  Jacksonville and Victoria Symphony Orchestras, CBC Radio Curio Ensemble, Turning Point Ensemble, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, The Canadian National Broadcast Orchestra, and the Harlequin Bassoon Quartet.

He has performed and recorded with Tafelmusik of Toronto, Philharmonia Baroque, San Francisco, Capella Clementina, Köln, Boston Baroque Orchestra, Philomel, and the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, as well as orchestras and ensembles in France, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, and Austria.

He has championed lesser-known composers and has commissioned numerous works from this generation of composers.  In addition, Mr. Read was active as a studio musician in Hollywood where he performed on many movie and television soundtracks.

Mr. Read served as the Director of the School of Music at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, for eleven years recently retired as the Head of the Wind, Brass, and Percussion Division and Professor of Bassoon and Chamber Music.

He has taught extensively for the European Mozart Academy where he has held master classes, has previously held positions at the University of Victoria, the University of Delaware, and the Utrecht Conservatory, Netherlands.  His solo CDs on the Etcetera, Bravura, and Skylark labels have received unanimous acclaim, including the recent “Stroll in the Cool” which was nominated as “Best Classical Recording” in the West Coast Music Awards.

Mr. Read studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Music Academy of the City of Basel, Switzerland, where he specialized in the performance of 18th-Century music, and where he began a life-long exploration of lesser-known and undiscovered music for wind instruments.  He has researched and written extensively on repertoire for wind instruments – his editions are published by NOVA, London, Editions Viento, and Garland Press.

He has led masterclasses in the conservatories of Montpellier France, Lisbon, Portugal, Warsaw and Krakow, Poland, Prague, Czech Republic, Indiana University, UCLA, and others including repeat visits to the National University of the Arts in Taipei for master classes and recitals.

Mr. Read has recently performed with the newly-formed Avison Chamber Orchestra in Vancouver and is looking forward to an extensive tour in 2020 with a program of early Beethoven works.

Jesse Read

THOMAS ROY-ROCHETTE

A native of Québec City, bassoonist Thomas Roy-Rochette joined the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra as Second Bassoon in 2023. He studied with Mélanie Forget and Richard Gagnon at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec and with Daniel Matsukawa at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In the fall of 2022, Thomas won the Orchestre symphonique de Québec Foundation Prize, and performed as a soloist with the orchestra. He also received first prize in the Pentaèdre-Youkali Competition. An active orchestral musician, Thomas has appeared in internationally renowned performance venues including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Berlin Konzerthaus, and the Maison symphonique in Montréal. Additionally, he performed as the Principal Bassoon in the Curtis Symphony Orchestra’s recently released recording of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, under the baton of Osmo Vänskä. He also regularly performs as a substitute musician with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec.

This past summer, Thomas joined NYO Canada as the Michael Measures 2nd prize winner. Previously, he has attended many summer festivals including the Père Lindsay Summer Program and Domaine Forget Academy, and he has appeared as a member of NYO Canada as the recipient of their Award of Excellence in 2019 and 2021. While attending those programs, he had the privilege of working alongside acclaimed bassoonists including Kathleen McLean, Mathieu Harel, Michael Sundell, Gilbert Audin, and Christopher Millard.

In 2016, Thomas participated in the televised Virtuose Classical Music Competition, hosted by Gregory Charles on ICI Radio-Canada. When he is not busy practicing or making reeds, Thomas enjoys long-distance running and reading fiction novels.

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Jo Ann Simpson

Jo Ann Simpson

Bassoonist Jo Ann Simpson received her Bachelor of Music Performance degree from The University of Ottawa, where she studied with Gerald Corey. A year of postgraduate studies with William Waterhouse in London England, where she also worked with the BBC Symphony, was followed by a stint as principal bassoon of the Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Caracas, Venezuela from 1979-1986. Since returning to Ottawa, Jo Ann has worked as a free-lance player with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the Quebec Symphony, and the Orchestra of Northern New York, among others. She is principal bassoon of l’Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau.

Jo Ann Simpson has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Venezuela, Uruguay, and Canada. She performs recital and chamber music regularly.

Jo Ann Simpson is a professor of bassoon at the Conservatoire de Musique de Gatineau, Québec, and Carleton University in Ottawa. She teaches the bassoonists at Canterbury High School and Centre d’Excellence Artistique de Lasalle and runs the Beginner Bassoon Program for The Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. Jo Ann has taught the Bassoon Ed Techniques course at the University of Ottawa and at The Crane School of Music, SUNY in Potsdam New York. Jo Ann has given master classes at the 2 most prestigious music schools in Romania – Gheorghe Dima in Cluj-Napoca and The National University of Music in Bucharest.

Jo Ann Simpson is the founder and director of the only residential bassoon camp in Canada – Brooke Valley Bassoon Days, which attracts as many as 46 bassoonists annually from coast to coast in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia. www.brookevalleybassoondays.ca

Jo Ann Simpson is one of the few bassoonists in North America who plays both the German and the French system bassoon. She is a member of The North American French Bassoon Quartet and is frequently invited to perform at conferences of the International Double Reed Society, most recently in Grenada, Spain 2018.

Jo Ann Simpson

ANTOINE ST. ONGE

Antoine St-Onge joined the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Bassoonist in June 2018 at the age of 23. A native of Morin-Heights, Québec, he earned his Bachelor’s in Music from the Montreal Music Conservatory and then graduated from McGill University, under the guidance of Montreal Symphony Orchestra members Mathieu Harel and Stéphane Lévesque. He also spent a semester studying with Carlo Colombo at the CNSMDP in Lyon, France.

Before his appointment to the Calgary Phil, St-Onge performed with the MontrealContemporary Ensemble (ECM+), and was a substitute for the Montreal SymphonyOrchestra, Drummondville Symphony Orchestra, l’Orchestre des Pays de Savoie and Les Violons du Roy. St-Onge was featured as a soloist with the Montreal Music Conservatory and with the McGill Symphony Orchestra, in G. Rossini’s and André Jolivet’s bassoon concerto.

St-Onge has an unconditional love for animals, and the outdoors – especially bikingand snowboarding. He plays on a Benson Bell bassoon made in Ontario, Canada.

Nadina Mackie Jackson

Nadina Mackie Jackson

Our Founding Past President

Solo bassoonist, Nadina Mackie Jackson is the most widely recorded Canadian bassoonist in history with 13 solo albums, 8 chamber music recordings, and dozens of albums with symphony, chamber, and historical instrument orchestras.

A true communicator, Nadina confidently ventures into new works, venues, and collaborations, joining forces with emerging and established composers, performers, and thinkers, sharing her joy and continual sense of discovery with audiences.

18 new works for solo bassoon and orchestra were written for her in the last decade and she sees great importance in continually commissioning new composers to expand the voice of the bassoon. Recent solo recordings include Vivaldi Concerti Volume I with Nicholas McGegan and the Juno short-listed Canadian Concerto Project with Guy Few and Group of Twenty-Seven Chamber Orchestra. Performing with folk legend Valdy and other virtuoso musicians and orchestras, Nadina has toured extensively across Canada, the US, Europe and Japan.

Ever mindful of the challenges faced by young bassoonists, Nadina has taught throughout Canada and the US and is the founder of the Council of Canadian Bassoonists – a nationally recognized education charity dedicated to bringing performances and workshops to diverse audiences. Nadina released her bassoon technique book Solitary Refinement, Chromatics, Chords & Scales, Concepts for the Committed Bassoonist in 2020 and will soon release the audio version of this large-scale book.

Nadina stepped down from the Council after 17 years of dedicated work on behalf of Canadian bassoonists and their audiences.

Our former board members

Leslie Magowan – 2006 to 2022

Fraser Jackson – 2006 to 2009

George Zukerman – 2009 to 2016

Uta Messerhuber, Adam Romey, Eric Macarios, Mathieu Lussier, Patrick Bolduc – 2018 to 2022

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