Born in Calgary, Canada, he began violin lessons at age 5. As a teenager he toured internationally performing classical and fiddle music. Upon achieving a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction from the University of Calgary, he moved to the United States and completed a Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona. He first gained international attention when he was extended an offer to tour with David Byrne of Talking Heads. Initially hired as a violinist, his role expanded and he began composing string arrangements for the ensemble. This collaboration led to world tours and commercial studio recordings.
Mr. Desautels has worked with David Amram, Arcade Fire, Austin Pops Orchestra as Music Director and Conductor, Marcia Ball, Garth Brooks, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Diahann Carroll, Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Christopher Cross, Sheena Easton, Falls, Nanci Griffith, Neon Hitch, Diana Krall, Ray LaMontagne, Yo-Yo Ma, Rejane Magloire of Indeep and Technotronic, Kathy Mattea, Bobby McFerrin, Don McLean, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Luciano Pavarotti, Pearl Jam, Itzhak Perlman, Bernadette Peters, Ray Price, Bruce Robison, San Antonio Symphony, Doc Severinsen, Frank Sinatra Jr., The Temptations, Thee Phantom, Vast, and Yoshiki.
Mr. Desautels is the solo violinist on the soundtrack to the Hollywood movie ‘Badland’. He is first violinist on the soundtrack for the series finale episode of ‘The Office (NBC), and a violinist on the soundtrack for Terence Malick’s film ‘To the Wonder’. He has toured China multiple times performing, and teaching master classes, in Jinan and Xian. Maestro Desautels has recorded music for Audium/Koch, Blue Rock, Disney, Microsoft, Nonesuch, Virgin Classics, Vitamin, Warner Music Group, and he composed the music for the short film ‘Talk Radio’. He performs and records playing a Charles Boullangier violin made in 1879 and listed in ‘On Stage’ magazine.