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Meet the Team – Catherine

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!