Darren Hicks joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as Principal Bassoon in September 2022 after four seasons with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Bassoon. Hailing from Middleton, Nova Scotia, Mr. Hicks pursued undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa, studying under former NACO Principal Bassoonist Christopher Millard. He then went on to study at the graduate level with Frank Morelli at the Yale School of Music in New Haven, Connecticut. Following his graduation, Darren was chosen as a fellow for the Rebanks Family Fellowship at the Glenn Gould School of Music. After this Mr. Hicks moved to Miami Beach, Florida to become a Bassoon Fellow at the New World Symphony. Darren is an alumnus of numerous summer festivals including Domaine Forget, Orchestre de la Francophonie, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Banff Festival, the Verbier Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Formative influences in Darren’s musicianship include Joan Panetti (Yale), David Shifrin (Yale), Whitney Crockett, Daniel Matsukawa, Judith Leclair, and Nancy Goeres.
Mr. Hicks feels very fortunate to have received a number of honours and awards, including winning the Aspen Music Festival and School’s Concerto Competition for bassoon (2019), the New World Symphony concerto competition (March 2018), the Dean’s Prize at the Yale School of Music (2014), and the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary (2012).
Darren plays on a bassoon made just outside of Peterborough by Bell Bassoons Ltd. When not hunched over his reed desk he enjoys building his record collection, meandering walks in nature, numerous podcasts, and feeding his insatiable sweet tooth.