Let’s Talk Bassoon – Episode 2


CO-HOSTS CHRISTOPHER MILLARD (retired principal bassoon of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa Canada) and DARREN HICKS (present principal bassoon of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa Canada) revealed some of their favourite practice secrets for those extra difficult passages. They discussed the benefits of locating the weakest link and building on either end, working backwards from end points and how to systematically remove notes. Passages from the following works were featured: Tansman 1st movt, Nussio Variations, Saint Saens 1st movement and Harbison Quintet Scherzo as well as the following excerpts: Rhapsodie Espanol Cadenzas, Beethoven 4, Pulcinella and Figaro

Jo Ann Simpson

Featured performers for this class:

Maxwell Ostic began his bassoon studies at age 11 at the Gatineau Conservatory with professor Jo Ann Simpson and has since completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa with professors Christopher Millard and Richard Hoenich. Since Graduating in 2021, Maxwell has gone on to perform as acting principal bassoon with the Saskatoon Symphony and is also an active freelancer and substitute musician in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, having performed with the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. He is also the principal bassoonist of the Ottawa Pops Orchestra.


Taran Massey-Singh started his undergraduate degree in 2021 at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in the studio of Samuel Fraser; Principal Bassoonist of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, before transferring to The University of Toronto in 2023, to study with Eric Hall, Principal Bassoon of the Canadian Opera Company. Having started his playing career in 2016, Taran initially studied under Shane Wieler of “Marcus Wieler Inc. The Bassoon Workshop”. While attending Brooke Valley Bassoon Days annually since 2016, Taran has participated in masterclasses hosted by the likes of Christopher Millard, Gustavo Núñez, Kim Laskowski, Mathieu Lussier, Glenn Einschlag, and Kathleen McLean among other.Taran holds positions in various ensembles in both the Greater-Toronto and Tri-City areas on both bassoon and contrabassoon, in a variety of tenured, on-call, and freelance positions. Taran currently resides and works out of Brampton, his hometown.


Michael Quigley is a passionate, Montreal-born bassoonist currently living in Toronto. He began learning the bassoon in high school, and was eventually inspired by his band director, to continue with the instrument after graduation. He started his undergraduate degree in 2016 at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, studying with Eric Hall, principal bassoon of the Canadian Opera Company; he transferred to the University of Toronto in 2018 to continue his studies with the same teacher. In 2023, Michael completed his Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he studied with the principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera, William Short. He has freelanced with a number of orchestras in the Greater Toronto Area, and Manhattan, as well as performed chamber music in a variety of halls in Manhattan, including Mary Flagler Cary Hall at the Dimenna center, and Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Music Center

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