Dominic Desautels


Principal clarinetist at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Dominic Desautels enjoys a busy career as a soloist, chamber musician and pedagogue, at home as well as abroad.

He made his debut as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2003 at the age of 21, being invited the same season as acting principal clarinetist with the ensemble. He has since been a guest soloist with many orchestras, including Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, Symphony Nova Scotia, Sinfonia Lanaudière, Orchestre de la Francophonie and Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal.

Dominic appears as a guest artist and faculty in several festivals, notably since 2013 at Scotia Festival of Music with its fine history of clarinet artists which initiated with Robert Marcellus in the 1980s. As co-artistic director of The Parcival Project chamber ensemble, he has toured across Canada and South America. Other recent tours include 40 recitals presented by Jeunesses Musicales of Canada.

Besides his duties at the Canadian Opera Company, he also holds the principal clarinet chair at the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to these positions, he was principal clarinetist at the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in Brazil, and then at Symphony Nova Scotia in Halifax.

Dominic started playing the clarinet at age 15 and studied mainly with Jean-François Normand, Robert Riseling and Joaquin Valdepeñas, and more recently has received guidance from François Benda and James Campbell. After studies at several institutions such as the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and Glenn Gould School, he graduated from the Université de Montréal in 2007.

The winner of several competitions, he was the first clarinetist to ever win a top prize, at the 33rd edition of the prestigious International Stepping Stone at the Canadian Music Competition. He is now in demand as an adjudicator at institutions such as the Glenn Gould School, University of Toronto, the Concours at the Conservatoires de Musique du Québec and the national finals of the Canadian Music Competition. He has taught at Dalhousie and Acadia Universities, and starting in the fall 2019 will be on faculty at the University of Toronto.

Dominic Desautels is a Backun Artist and plays on the MoBa cocobolo clarinets. He is also an Endorsing Artist for Légère European Cut Reeds and for Silverstein Works.