Laurie Hatcher Merz, BM, MM

Laurie Hatcher Merz, BM, MM

Minneapolis, MN Bassoonist, Bassoon teacher & Professional Bassoon Reed Maker

Bachelor of Music, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY with Distinction – Master of Music, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, with Honors



My online and in-person bassoon studio serves beginners, intermediate and advanced students including those in junior high, high school, college and committed adult amateur to semi-professional musicians. Bassoon lessons cost $30.00 for a half hour, $45.00 for 45 minutes and $60.00 for hour lessons.

My Plymouth, MN studio serves the Minneapolis, St. Paul Metro area. Students also come from throughout MN, or work with me online, including St. Cloud, Alexandria, Duluth and the Fargo and Moorhead area. Call, text or email me to inquire about studying with me. As an online student, we can work together no matter where you are located.

I have taught private bassoon lessons for 35 years and presently have a large and lively studio of students of all ages and all levels. I genuinely enjoy the student-teacher exchange: creating the music, problem-solving, sharing the ideas that make us better and happier performers, and always growing as a teacher. 

My studio is well equipped to teach bassoon and the complete process of reed making. I also teach an introduction to the contrabassoon. Formerly, I was an adjunct professor of bassoon at Augsburg University, Century College, and St. Cloud State University.

Laurie_Merz_Bassoon_Performer & Teacher on RR Tracks


I am presently in my 19th season as a bassoonist and contra-bassoonist in the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, where I have been part of numerous world premieres, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Silent Night” by Kevin Puts. 2020 will see the release of the Minnesota Opera recording of the production.

The Minnesota Sinfonia has been my bassoon home for over 20 years. During those years, I have been a part of hundreds of educational concerts in the Twin Cities schools, bringing the orchestral experience to many children who might otherwise be unable to attend a performance.

With a mission to present all concerts free to the public, this professional chamber orchestra performs classical works statewide, often featuring world-renowned soloists as well as offering new works by prize-winning composers.

As a busy freelance bassoonist and contra-bassoonist, I perform with VocalEssence, the Ordway Stage productions, Minnesota Dance Theater, and as a guest artist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra.

My quintet, the Riverside Wind Quintet, has been the recipient of several grants over the past ten years. Riverside Winds developed an educational program to present American music to K-12 classrooms with an award.  

This project led to us to being featured as MPR Class Notes Artists and releasing a recording of music by American composer Eric Stokes,  the “Lyrical Pickpocket.”  Our present creative project is studying and performing an extensive library of little known Scandinavian wind quintet music.

From 1993-2003, I was a member of the highly entertaining South Minneapolis Bassoon Quartet. We were known for a combination of expert musicianship, witty comedy, and silly slapstick. Our quartet enjoyed a broad fan base. 

We wrote, produced, and promoted our twice-yearly themed shows, were featured numerous times on Minnesota Public Radio and KARE-11 television and released the CD “Something Borrowed” in 1999. To this day, we get asked when the SMBQ will rise again from the ashes!



I have had a reed making business for 30 years, selling them from my home and also through Midwest Musical Imports. These are professional quality reeds and a top-seller. I pride myself on skilled craftsmanship, making a beautiful sounding reed that is easy to play. 

I work with my customers to produce reeds that meet their unique preferences. My reed style was developed mostly with the specifications of a Van Hoesen reed. I use an RDG gouger, Pfeiffer profiler, and a Berdon #3 shaper.

Reeds are available in a medium-soft strength that is suitable for beginner players, medium-strength – my most popular reeds – and medium-hard, which is preferred by players who like a resistant reed, or who prefer to do the final reed finishing. For my online students and nationwide customers, I will mail your reeds to you. They are always disinfected prior to sending them out.


I have an older sister to thank for getting me started on my way in a career in music, teaching me to play her flute when I was quite young. Tiring of me always carrying her instrument off, she convinced our dad to purchase my first flute. I continued playing flute until my sophomore year at Wayzata High School when I was easily convinced by my band director to switch to the bassoon. It was love at first note!

During high school, I was a student of Coreen Nordling (Minnesota Opera), Benjamin Kamins, and John Miller, Jr., former principal bassoonist with the Minnesota Orchestra.

 My Bachelor of Music Performance degree was received, with distinction, from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where I was a student of K. David Van Hoesen. 

I attended the University of Minnesota for my Master of Music Performance degree, which I earned, with honors, studying with Charles Ullery, former principal bassoonist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.


As a native of Minnesota, I love winter sports, including Nordic skiing and skating. My husband and I have fun exploring and hiking locally and globally, as well as spending time with our large extended families. As descendants of early Minnesota settlers, we enjoy visiting historical sites and reading about the lives of pioneers.