Susan Durnin’s extremely diverse taste in music genres is reflected in her wide range of solo repertoire, ensembles and musical adaptability. With works ranging from Vivaldi to Gubaidulina, her recitals consistently explore the history and possibilities of the bassoon. In 2006 she premiered Basusan a piece for unaccompanied bassoon written for her by Heidi Ugrin.  In 2012, she explored the world of electronics when performing Draconids by Joshua Keeling, at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium. She is currently preparing to premiere a work for electric bassoon by Adam Vidiskis.

Ms. Durnin is the Director of Programming and co-founder of The Excelsior Ensemble. She is also a founding member of The bassoon quartet Das Fagott Mannschaft, whose eclectic repertoire consists of music from Bach to the Beatles, and Nina Simone to Michael Jackson.  An avid chamber musician, she has performed in numerous ensembles ranging from trios to octets. Ms. Durnin was chosen to participate in the 2007 Burgos Chamber Music Festival. 

Ms. Durnin is principal bassoonist of Toronto Sinfonietta and Summerhill Orchestra. Since moving to Toronto, Ms. Durnin has performed in many ensembles including The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, The Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, The Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, and The Niagara Symphony Orchestra. A former member of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, Ms. Durnin was heard playing principal bassoon in the CBC broadcast of the Grand Opening of The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall (2009).

Ms. Durnin completed her Artist Diploma in Orchestral Studies (2010) at The Glenn Gould School.  She has a Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from the University of Manitoba (2007).  Susan has studied with bassoonists Jim Ewen, Allen Harrington, Kathleen McLean and Nadina Mackie Jackson.

February 2018


Since 2015, Ms. Durnin has been working with presenters and AKAM artists.  As an administrator, she completed an internship with the Canadian Opera Company, working for the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Susan was also the Communications Director of the inaugural 2015 Bassoonapalooza, a one-day bassoon festival held in Toronto.

Susan also administered and performed on the Excelsior Ensemble Chamber Series that ran for two seasons in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. This series was a musicians’ collective that featured an array of instrumentation highlighting the woodwinds.

As a musician, she is an active bassoonist involved in performances around Southern Ontario. Susan has performed in the sections of many orchestras including Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Windsor Symphony Orchestra, and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.

Susan is currently working towards a Certificate in Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Management through Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance from the University of Manitoba studying with Allen Harrington. She then moved to Toronto and completed her Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory in the studios of Kathleen McLean and Nadina Mackie Jackson. She continues the tradition of bassoon teaching with a studio of her own as well as teaching at the prestigious arts high school, Cardinal Carter Academy.

During her free time, she is involved with a quirky electric bassoon quartet, who can be found performing pop tunes across Toronto. Ms. Durnin brings a unique perspective to the art of managing artists, and she looks forward to the continued relationships that come from working in this industry. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Susan now calls Toronto home.

February 2018

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