Michael Sweeney has served as Principal Bassoonist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 1989. Over the years, critics have consistently praised his orchestral solos, describing them as “soulful” (Globe and Mail), and “full of imagination and character” (National Post).
As a soloist, Michael is most interested in Baroque, Classical and Postmodern/Postminimalist work. In 2003, he premièred and recorded his CD, mozart and well beyond, which was praised by Gramophone magazine for its “vitality,” sensitivity and, in particular, for Michael’s “excellent interpretation” of Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto, through which he “glides … with stunning suppleness.”
As a chamber musician, Michael has collaborated with pianists Emmanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, Ingrid Fliter, Angela Hewitt, Serouj Kradjian, James Parker, oboist Cynthia Steljes of Quartetto Gelato, and Amici Ensemble.
Michael teaches at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto and has appeared as guest performer/faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School. During the COVID-19 lock-down, he has given free masterclasses for bassoonists ranging from young students to seasoned professionals who Zoom-ed in from Canada, the USA, Costa Rica, the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, and Russia.
Michael is married to Peter Eliot Weiss who is a writer and professor of communication in the Engineering Faculty of the University of Toronto.