Dominic Desautels has been the Principal Clarinetist at the Canadian Opera Company since 2017 and on the University of Toronto faculty. He is considered one of Canada’s most sought-after wind instrumentalists and enjoys a thriving career as a soloist, chamber musician and pedagogue.
He started tootling on the clarinet in his high school band at age 15, took private lessons at 17, and by the age of 21 was hired as a guest principal clarinetist at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; furthermore, he made his debut as a soloist with the orchestra during the same season, in 11 concerts performing a movement of Mozart’s clarinet concerto.
His clarinet teachers include Jean-François Normand, Robert Riseling and Joaquin Valdepeñas, and James Campbell as an important mentor. After attending the Montreal Conservatory, Western University and the Glenn Gould School, he completed his studies with a Bachelor’s degree from the Université de Montréal, where he won the yearly Concerto Competition. Upon graduation, he was hired by the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in Brazil as principal clarinetist (2008-2012), a position he later held with Symphony Nova Scotia (2012-2017), and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (2018-2022). Dominic Desautels was the first clarinetist to ever win a top prize at the 33rd International Stepping Stone of the Canadian Music Competition in 2010. He plays on Schwenk & Seggelke clarinets (Bamberg, Germany) made of a special exotic wood called Mopane. He is an Endorsing Artist for Légère Reeds and Silverstein Works clarinet products.