Michael Quigley

Principal Bassoon

Story by Kris Ketonen, Photo by Max Zheng



Superior Outdoors



Birthplace: Montreal Instrument: Bassoon Age you started to study music: Piano at about age nine, bassoon at 14 How long have you been with TBSO: In his first season What’s on personal playlist: Music he’s performing with the TBSO this season The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra’s Michael Quigley’s love for the bassoon came about quite accidentally. Quigley, who’s in his first season with the TBSO, began his musical career on the piano at about age nine, but that didn’t exactly stick. “Neither of my parents were musicians, but they thought it was better to give me something to do to keep me busy,” he says. “I really hated it. After two years I quit and thought I’d never touch an instrument again.” That all changed in ninth grade. “I had to take one year of some kind of art elective in high school,” Quigley says. “The plan was to take music and then start doing computer science.” “I remember signing up to play the bassoon, not knowing what it was. And I remember shortly after I wrote down on the little signup sheet that I’d play bassoon, the band director came and he’s like, ‘Oh, you’re gonna play bassoon? You should play in our band.’” “I just kind of got roped into it. I kind of accidentally just fell in love with the instrument, and kept playing it since then.” Quigley went on to study at Wilfrid Laurier University, and transferred to the University of Toronto to finish his degree. He then did a master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. Now, Quigley has joined the TBSO, which is his first orchestra job. “I did a community orchestra, I think it was in grade 12,” Quigley recalls. “It was my first time playing in an orchestra rather than a band.” “In bands, you’re often doubled up on parts, like multiple people are playing the same thing. But being in the orchestra, even if you’re not the soloist or something like that, you’re still on your own part. You’ve still got something unique that you have to do.” “I think that made me want to play in orchestras.”