Biography

Principal Clarinet at the Canadian Opera Company and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dominic Desautels’ extremely varied career has taken him to the stage as a soloist with orchestras, recitalist and chamber musician across Canada and abroad. 

He began his career at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at age 21, when he was invited to perform a movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto as a soloist. He performed as a guest Principal Clarinet and substitute musician with the orchestra the same season.  

He studied with several distinguished clarinetists, in particular, Jean-François Normand, Robert Riseling and Joaquin Valdepeñas. Upon graduation from the Université de Montréal in 2008, he won the Principal Clarinet position in one of South America’s top symphony orchestras, the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in Brazil. This was followed by a five-year tenure at Symphony Nova Scotia in Halifax before joining the Canadian Opera Company orchestra in 2017. 

Dominic was the winner of numerous soloist competitions over the years, notably becoming the first clarinetist to win a prize at the 2010 International Stepping Stone competition, in its 33rd edition. His awards also crossed over to the jazz world, having won the Stingray Rising Star Award at the Halifax Jazz Festival as a member of The New Bridge sextet. 

Dedicated to teaching the younger generation, Dominic has recently been appointed Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at the University of Toronto and is a guest artist/faculty at Scotia Festival of Music and the Interprovincial Music Camp. The summer of 2020 would have marked his first appearance at the Mainly Mozart Festival and all-star orchestra in San Diego, until the pandemic halted activities for nearly all performing artists. He is thankful to have the opportunity to continue making music, made possible by the brilliant programming at the HPO this season.