Teacher, Performer, Wind Coach, Conductor


"I have always found Mr. Bourque's playing inspired, beautiful and persuasive. He consistently demonstrates an astonishing versatility in all facets of performance: in his command of all musical styles, in his mastery of the different clarinets, and in his easy and engaging manner with audiences, both verbally and musically."

James Sommerville

Principal Horn, Boston Symphony Orchestra

"Mr. Bourque has a special ability to quickly diagnose a problem in a student’s playing. Not only can he identify the problems very quickly, but he can describe very clearly exactly what has to be done to fix them. I will never forget what I learned in that lesson. Mr. Bourque has been a great mentor and role model to me. With his help I have been accepted into the Masters in Performance at Northwestern University. I have no doubt that he has helped me develop into the player I am today!"


Patrick Graham

Second Clarinet, The Florida Orchestra

"Working with David Bourque was an experience I will never forget. Dave doesn’t discriminate with his instrument, his commitment to music teaches his students to be good musicians, not just good clarinetists. Regardless of how many times he may need to invent new ways of explaining a concept, he will do so until the student progresses or until the problem is improved. This is the one task that even some fantastic teachers overlook."

Shauna McDonald

extra player, National Arts Centre Orchestra

Instructor of Clarinet, University of Ottawa

“Professor Bourque has gone over and beyond the call of duty for a clarinet instructor. He has been extremely compassionate and professional (in helping me assess my career goals), which was exactly what I needed. He gave me suggestions and sound advice. I doubt that any of his fellow professors would have given up so much of their personal time to help me like he has. When he told me that he office door was always open I didn't think, due to past experiences, that it actually would be. He really has the best interest of his students at heart and that is reflected in his availability and high (academic) standards.”

Elizabeth Fellows

Stadacona Band, Canadian Martitime Forces Atlantic

"Dave's method of teaching is clear and to the point. He is supportive and positive, and yet makes the areas for improvement evident. His explanations are simple and direct, and they lead to direct changes in his student's playing. In a matter of days, he was able to bring clarinetists from a point of having never played the bass clarinet, to a standard where they were performing challenging repertoire on a concert tour. Lessons are always summarized at the end, and I will always remember his closing remarks--"if you take anything away from this lesson, remember this"-- These covered everything from tongue position to early preparation to dynamic variances." 

Christine Carter BMus, MMus 
Bass Clarinet, YouTube Orchestra II

"David Bourque has been a most valued friend and colleague of mine in the Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra and Festival Winds for over twenty years. His bass clarinet playing is the gold standard by which I measure all others against and it continues to live on in my minds ear,  especially his otherworldly pianissimos.”

Joel Quarrington

Principal Bass, National Arts Centre Orchestra

Principal Bass, London Symphony Orchestra (ret)

the best clarinetto basso I have ever met"

Gianandrea Noseda

Music Director, Teatro Regio Torino

Music Director, National Symphony

Principal Guest Conducor, London Symphony Orchestra

Principal Guest Conductor, Israel Philharmonic

"I have worked with David Bourque many times over the years, both with the Toronto Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. I can tell you that he is a fine player, a wonderful clarinettist. David is a first rate bass clarinettist and bassethorn player and he is always a pleasure to work with."

Pinchas Zuckerman, violinist

Music Director , National Arts Centre Orchestra



What David's colleagues are saying


What David's students are saying

“David is, and has been through these years, my first call for clarinet and bass clarinet. His professionalism, enthusiasm, and understanding of the requirements of this kind of job are complete and totally reliable.

His playing has made such an impression on some of my New York and Hollywood peers that he becomes a topic of conversation when we get into discussions of recording orchestras and favourite players. His phrasing, timbre and tone colouring, to play perfectly in tune, to blend with any other instrument or group of instruments, and to sight-read anything on the stand have put his name on the top of my list, which, by the way, is star-studded, given the wonderful clarinetists we have in the Toronto area.

Christopher Dedrick (d. 2009)

Composer - Emily of New Moon, The Arrow, Road to Avonlea

Past President, Guild of Canadian Film Composers 

“Over the past 25 years, Mr. Bourque has been an integral part of the woodwind section (of the TSO) and his agility of playing and warmth of sound are exemplary. His dedication to the Toronto Symphony and the art of music-making have made him a wonderful colleague."

Sir Andrew Davis

Conductor Laureate, Toronto Symphony

Music Director, Lyric Opera of Chicago

“David connected with (my) students like very few are able to do and it was absolutely uncanny how he was able to zero in on the exact and unique needs of each individual student, from freshman music education majors to doctoral and artist diploma performers. To say that my students appreciated and benefited from his work with them is an understatement; they loved him!"

James Campbell, Professor

Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University

A more detailed look...