Graham Mackenzie has been principal oboist of the Niagara Symphony since 2013, as well as the Windsor Symphony since 2006. He joined Orchestra London as principal oboist in 2014, and served in this capacity until its bankruptcy in 2015. He has also appeared as principal oboist with the Kitchener-Waterloo, Winnipeg, and Brantford Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Hamilton Philharmonic. Other engagements include being a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2009-2010, and freelancing on several occasions in Chicago and Indianapolis. He has been a member of the Tanglewood Music Centre, Music Academy of the West, National Repertory Orchestra, National Academy Orchestra of Canada, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne, the Banff Centre, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Graham earned a Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, studying with James Mason, and a Master of Music from DePaul University, studying with Eugene Izotov. He has completed two years of coursework toward a Doctor of Music at Indiana University, studying with Roger Roe and Linda Strommen. He has performed as concerto soloist with the Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Music Academy of the West, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Windsor Community Orchestras, as well as the Hamilton Philharmonic, playing concertos by Bach, Marcello, Mozart, Strauss, and Vivaldi. An avid chamber musician, he is a founding member of Trio Pistachio, and has performed in many Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society concerts as well as the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. He has also pursued chamber music studies at the Domaine Forget Music Academy, the Scotia Festival of Music, and Windfest. In addition to his performing career, Graham is a passionate teacher. He is on faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University and has conducted master classes at the University of Western Ontario and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. He maintains a studio of private students, and was co-founder of the Tumble Reeds Music Studio in London, Ontario. When he’s not performing, Graham enjoys raising his son Jasper, walking and skateboarding with his dog Roadie, running, tending to his many fruit trees, ping-pong, board games, and making music with his wife, who is a bassoonist.
Graham began studying oboe at age 12, but never intended to pursue it as a career. He started university as a business and math major intending to take private lessons on the side with an oboe teacher. When he heard his teacher play he realized what an amazing instrument the oboe was and switched into music that week, and never looked back.
When asked about his favourite piece of music, Graham said “That’s like asking “what is the favourite meal I’ve ever eaten?” They are all so different, and wonderful in their own way! If I had to pick just one, I guess I would say Brahms’ First Symphony. It is so exquisitely crafted – every note, in every single part, has so much meaning, and it packs an emotional punch that is beyond description.”