Laurie Hatcher Merz has been playing bassoon in the Minnesota Sinfonia since acid-washed jeans and the Macarena were popular. She is also a busy freelance player performing with many groups, including the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Dance Theater, and VocalEssence. The Riverside Wind Quintet has presented Laurie the opportunity to perform new and newly-discovered quintet literature. The Riverside Winds recently released the CD “The Lyrical Pickpocket,” music by American composer Eric Stokes. As MPR Class Notes Artists, The Riverside Winds developed an educational program on American music for schoolchildren.

After graduating with distinction from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Laurie performed with the Heidelberg Schlossfestspiele in Germany. She returned to Germany (her favorite country to visit) in 2014 as a featured soloist and instructor at the Suzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival.

Laurie received her Master’s Degree in performance with honors from the University of Minnesota School of Music and has since cultivated a large studio of talented bassoon students of all ages. She has previously held the position of Professor of Bassoon at Augsburg University, St. Cloud State University and Century College in Minnesota.

“The Minnesota Sinfonia is such a unique ensemble. The concept of bringing top-notch professional performances to the public with no admission fee has brought the joy of music to so many, including school age children, who might otherwise have little exposure to classical music. There is also a team spirit in Sinfonia that encourages commitment to put forth our best performance while having fun together!”

When not performing, teaching, presenting and adjudicating, Laurie is in demand as a reed maker, selling her finely crafted bassoon reeds to clients around the nation and teaching classes in reed making.

When not working, Laurie enjoys vacationing in the Bayfield area, gardening and preserving fresh fruits and vegetables, indulging her two young grandsons and spending time with her numerous siblings and their families.