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» DFM News

DFM News


“East End Famous” for BuskerFest

Not only are we excited to be performing at Toronto BuskerFest this weekend, but apparently we are turning heads in the East End. Laura and Susan were both featured in a couple of lovely newspaper stories this week. The stories draw attention to the Beaches-residents as well as giving readers a tempting taste of what DFM will be up to this weekend!

For more info about BuskerFest check out our event page. Looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces in the crowd!!!

Here are the articles!!!

Beach Mirror – a fun interview with Susan and Laura about DFM.

Beach Metro – A lovely article about DFM and BuskerFest.

Photo by Patrick Ross (2014)

Pride Shows 2015!

We have been busy little beavers getting ready for Pride this year and are VERY excited to announce that we will be featured in TWO stage shows!!!


Saturday June 27, 2015 at 6pm-7pm:

We will be teaming up with the lovely Catherine Hernandez (Legs) for an USO style show, For the Noise: A Wartime Review Show in a Time of War. USO shows were and continue to be review shows to boost the moral of military soldiers on the front lines. Now, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Legs will be hosting a spectacular show like no other, honourng our “soldiers of resistance”, beaten but not broken. Expect Big Band and big boobs. Expect raunchy humour and jaw dropping surprises. Consider this to be a salute, with a slap and a tickle.

Sunday June 28, 2015 at 1pm-1:30pm:

DFM will be featured at the Clean, Sober and Proud Place, a substance-free area located within a parkette near the centre of all the action at Church and Wellesley (on Wellesley between the subway and Church Street). All are welcome to stop by and take a break from the busy streets, sit back on the grass, and catch some amazing programming from a variety of community members all weekend long.


Keep your eyes peeled throughout the week, as we have a tendency to pop up on street-corners for some sweet bassoon-busking. We tend to find sweet spots near Church/Wellesley or just down the street from Byzantium, so come find us! Last year we had a blast busking at World Pride and even made the news as “alternative to alternative entertainment“!


Susan at the Junos

I was thrilled to play one of the coolest gigs of my life…so far…Back-up bassoon for the Arkells at the 2015 Juno Awards!!!! Yeah, so that bassoonist who scored all the camera time??? This girl.


Exciting moments of the Junos for the entire Orchestra? Watching Arkells win Rock Album of the Year 5 minutes before taking the stage to perform Come to Light with them!!!! (Their other nomination was group of the year…which they won at the Gala on Saturday night.) Needless to say, they are a kick-ass band and it was frigging amazing to be on stage with them.

So the gig…what was it like? Well, to share an insider secret…big productions and movies/TV filming is all the same…Hurry up to wait. You end up with a really early call time, you doll yourself up, then hope the hairspray will hold for the next 3 hours!!! BUT, just because it isn’t the glamorous life that people imagine, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t the coolest weekend of my life!!! (more…)


Meet the Team – Catherine – 1

CatherineHey, I’m Catherine! I was a late-comer to the bassoon, having only started towards the end of high school. Up until then I was a flute player, with a special interest in the piccolo (of all things), and my family had resigned themselves to having an underemployed treble maker in the family. But my mother, also a bassoonist, eventually showed me the light, or brought me to the dark side depending on your point of view. Although I have now come to accept the bassoon as my destiny, I think I had resisted it as I did not want to be known as the-daughter-who-also-played-bassoon.

Catherine & Graham up to no good in Sudbury

Catherine & Graham up to no good in Sudbury

While that was definitely the case in my formative baby-bassoon-years, I’ve since outgrown that moniker and established myself as an orchestral player, composer, and more recently, an electric bassoonist.

I’ve been playing principal bassoon with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra for over ten years, and with DFM contrabassoon Graham playing second I always have an absurd amount of fun! Last month I got the opportunity to play my second Firebird, which is on every bassoonist’s bucket list. With Sudbury I’ve also had the opportunity to do two Scheherazades, a Bolero, as well as some Shosti’s, Tchaiks, and other fun rep. I also play with a number of other orchestras in Toronto and beyond (such as the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra), so my weekends are frequently busy.

Catherine practices in the 21st century

Catherine practices in the 21st century

As well as being a bassoon-nerd, I’m a tech-geek. In fact, when deciding upon post-secondary education, computer science very nearly beat out music. Since then, apart from some HTML and basic javascript, I haven’t done any serious coding, so instead my interests have moved into gadgets. Right now my tech of choice for my bassoon is the Boss ME-70, which includes preamps and compressors in addition to a multitude of effects. My most used effects these days seem to be the harmonizer and octave settings, phaser, flanger, chorus+delay, some sort of distortion, with a bit of reverb to make it just right for Goldilocks. I’ve also “permanently borrowed” a JamMan Stereo looper, and rented the VoiceLive 2 to try out its intelligent harmonizing capabilities (but that’s for another blog post!) I also have some miscellaneous pedals by Zoom, Line 6, Boss, MXR, and a hand-wired Fix My Duck by Stephenson.

Group shot from Catherine & Spy's last opera workshop

Group shot from Catherine & Spy’s last opera workshop

I’m also a working composer, and frequently collaborate with my partner-in-life-and-crime, Spy. Together we wrote our first opera, Giiwedin, which premiered in 2010, was nominated for a Dora, and then remounted in 2014. We’re currently completing our second opera, which had a successful workshop last month thanks to the Ontario Arts Council. Spy and I also write chamber pieces, and our 2013 quintet (string quartet plus keys), Bike Rage, came in first place by audience voting at Baroque Idol. Earlier this year we premiered Spin Doctors for Clarinet, Violin and Piano with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra. We also had a theatre-cabaret work, Victorian Secrets, in the Weesageechak Festival in late-2014, which will get another showing at Toronto Pride 2015 as part of Free Jane. No rest for the wicked!

maeveI would also be in trouble if I didn’t mention that Spy and I love dogs, especially rescue dogs! So, in conclusion, here’s Maeve the Dawg, who wishes you a fine day and good reeds!

Oh, and don’t forget that Das Fagott Mannschaft has a show this Sunday March 8 at Byzantium!





Meet the Team – Graham – 1

Graham's subliminal bassoon messages to young students.

Graham’s subliminal bassoon messages to young students.

Graham is an elementary school teacher and has noticed that there is a lot of bassoon-related flotsam in his room even though he doesn’t actually have any kids that play the bassoon.

Besides a number of engagements with Das Fagott Mannschaft, Graham has recently played with the Sneak Peak Orchestra, the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Corktown Chamber Orchestra (Dvorak Wind Serenade with Susan!!!) Good times all around.  Next month will find him in Sudbury, North Bay, Georgian Bay, and at Hart House playing with their orchestras.  He’s also REALLY excited to playing contra in Brahms 1 with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra.  Aaaahhhhhh, Brahams………
DFM has a lot of shows coming up.  Check out our event page for all the show info! We’d love to see YOU!!!!

Meet the Team – Neil – 1

Its me, Neil. You may remember me from our music video that came out just shy of a year ago and all other DFM performances. I’m the baby of the group. Not only am I the youngest but I throw tantrums when I don’t get my way and I drink EVERYTHING from the bottle. Just kidding, I don’t throw that many tantrums.

What have I been up to lately? Its been a quiet winter for me but I have been working on some new arrangements for DFM. I’m almost finished with Titanium by Sia and David Guetta! If you don’t know it, you can watch a pretty awesome version here. I’ve also finished Afterlife by Ingrid Michaelson. Whats up next? I’m not sure yet – but I’ve started working on 3 new tunes by Sara Bareillies, Queen, and Gotye.

During the week, I also teach bassoon lessons to two very wonderful students. I’m very proud of them and they work very hard. They also chose the bassoon as their first choice for an instrument which is fantastic! When I was in grade 6 I had no idea what a bassoon even was.

I’m also a server at a pretty lovely establishment on Church Street called Byzantium. So far, I’m terrible at it. I can pour a mean cup of coffee, though. Oh, and we’re going to play a show there in early March so keep your eye on the DFM event calendar!


Meet the Team – Susan – 1

I have been running around like crazy…I actually think I worked less when I had a day job and I wasn’t “self-employed”…The difference is, now I get to do the work I like and it is all bassoon related! (My name is Susan, and I am a bassoon-nerd.)

So…things I have been busy with:

1) I have been busy knocking out some DFM arrangements…spoiler alert, we now have Fat-Bottomed Girls by Queen in our arsenal! I’m debating Shout and Jump in the Line for my next projects… (more…)


Planning meeting January 2015

We had a highly productive band meeting last week, and we are pumped for lots of prospective shows and events this spring.

We are still nailing down dates with a few venues, but we promise to be busy as bassoonists the end of February through March.


Planning meeting…Don’t we look productive?

Sooooo, Here’s what we can disclose so far… On February 28, we will be featured at Bassoonapalooza 2015 at the University of Toronoto. We will be playing a few tunes on the Showcase concert (4:30pm, Walter Hall) and we will also be running a “participation clinic” so that all the attendees can jam on a few of our tunes with us.

We are in talks with about 6 venues to set up shows…so keep your internet homepage set to our event page so you won’t miss a show!

In May, we will be participating in an AIDS fundraiser at Buddies at Bad Times. We are absolutely pumped for this and plan on covering some Queen tunes as a tribute to Freddie, the best performer who ever walked a stage.

Will DFM be busking at Pride? YES! Will DFM be doing shows at or around Pride? Only our event page will know! 😉


One of the fagotts has a premiere!

Poster for SPO concert featuring a new work by mannschaft-member Catherine

Poster for SPO concert featuring a new work by mannschaft-member Catherine

Mannschaft member Catherine has an exciting concert coming up! Surprisingly, she’s not playing her bassoon– she has a new work premiering that she wrote with her partner in life and crime, Spy. It will be presented by the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday January 17, 8PM, at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Anglican Church, 3333 Finch Ave E (at Warden).

Spin Doctors for clarinet, violin and piano is a jazz-inspired exploration of how political messaging is presented and distorted. The clarinet and violin represent two characters establishing their platforms, attempting to discredit their opponent while ensuring their message is loudest. The piano serves as moderator, trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to keep things civil between the clarinet and violin.

Victorian Secrets was presented to a sold-out crowd!

Victorian Secrets was presented to a sold-out crowd!

Catherine and Spy have a long history of collaborative composing. Together, they co-created the Dora-nominated opera, Giiwedin, which premiered in April 2010 and was remounted in 2014 by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music. They have also composed shorter works for chamber ensemble, including Deux Poèmes Sur La Formation Des Glaces and Bike Rage, which won the 2013 Baroque Idol composer competition by audience voting.

More recently, their theatre cabaret piece, Victorian Secrets, was presented at Native Earth Performing Arts’ Weesageechak festival to a sold-out audience in November 2014. AND they are currently completing their SECOND full-length opera with the support of OAC and TAC, as well as various musical commissions and other projects.

We’re not just pretty faces at Das Fagott Mannschaft!


Big News in the Bassoon World

So, big developments in the Toronto bassoon world are happening…not only does DFM have a show on Friday December 12, 9pm….but Nadina Mackie Jackson has announced a huge event on her blog.

The big development is a pet project that is being organized by Eric Macarios, Nadina Mackie Jackson and Susan Durnin. It is the first ever Bassoon-Day to be held at the University of Toronto. Many other big cities have bassoon days, where a whole herd of bassoonists show up, geek out and perform a fantastic concert, but Toronto has been holding out until some reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaly fabulous people came along to organize one.

Bassoonapalooza – Sounds to the future is on February 28, 2015. There are already about 12 guest artists involved including Lecolion Washington from Memphis and Das Fagott Mannschaft from Toronto! Bassoonapalooza is open to the public, so come on out and hear all the crazy things that some of the top bassoonists are up to these days.


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