Photo by Lady Luck Photography

Catherine Magowan is a bassoonist, composer, conductor, and arts administrator. She is first-generation Canadian of Jewish ancestry, whose parents came to Canada as refugees escaping racism and communism in Hungary.

She is principal bassoonist of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera orchestra (SOLO), the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, and regularly freelances throughout Ontario.  Catherine is co-founder of the world’s first electric bassoon band, DFM, which has appeared at festivals including Pride Toronto, World Pride, Buskerfest, and the Northern Lights Festival Boreal.

Catherine was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award for her first opera, Giiwedin (Native Earth Performing Arts/Unsettled Scores, 2010) which she co-composed with her collaborator, Dr. Spy Dénommé-Welch. Together they premiered Contraries: a chamber requiem at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2018, and their work for voice and orchestra Sojourn premiered at the Luminato Festival as the finale of the dance opera Bearing (Signal Theatre, 2017). Their comedy duo Professor Quack & Grunt has lectured at cabarets, poetry festivals, book launches, and universities and will make it’s European debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer of 2019.

In September 2019 Catherine and her collaborator premiered a new chamber work at the Celebration of Nations festival, and in November 2019 they they presented a new orchestral piece in honour of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s 40th anniversary. They are currently completing their second full-length opera for premiere in 2021/2022.

Together Catherine Magowan and Dr. Dénommé-Welch have presented at national and international conferences on topics such as decolonization and intercultural collaboration in music, and run workshops for youth and young adults on music creation and the politics of music.

Catherine is Managing Director of Unsettled Scores, and has worked in arts and education administration at organizations such as the Royal Conservatory of Music, Tafemusik Baroque Orchestra, and OCAD University. She holds a certificate in Non-Profit Management from The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University. 

Catherine is a member of the Canadian League of Composers, and an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre.