Andrew P. MacDonald, Composer

Andrew Paul MacDonald, Composer

Pacific Opera Victoria
Mary's Wedding

November, 2011

Andrew Paul MacDonald is the composer of the new opera Mary's Wedding, commissioned by Pacific Opera Victoria and premiered in November 2011. Mary's Wedding, with a libretto by Stephen Massicotte, is the first full-length opera for both composer and librettist.

Born in Guelph in 1958, composer Andrew Paul MacDonald earned a DMA in Composition at the University of Michigan in 1985 where he studied with William Bolcom, William Albright, George Balch Wilson and Leslie Bassett.

His compositions have won many prestigious prizes, including the 1995 Juno Award for Best Classical Composition for his Violin Concerto. His compositions have been performed by some of Canada's most notable ensembles, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Symphony Nova Scotia, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, and I Musici de Montréal.

He has had works commissioned by outstanding orchestras, chamber ensembles, solo performers, music competitions, the Canadian Opera Company and the CBC. His works are frequently broadcast on the CBC and have been performed in Australia, China, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, the United States, Ukraine and Canada. Thirty-three of his compositions have been recorded on eighteen compact discs to date, several receiving awards and nominations for excellence.

He was the composer in residence with the Canadian Opera Company in 1988/89, when he composed the one-act opera The Unbelievable Glory of Mr. Sharp. In February 2010, his Toronto Symphony Commission, Ode to the West Wind, opened the New Creations Festival. Colm Feore narrated the work, which is based on Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem of the same name.

Past Vice-President and Council member of the Canadian League of Composers and founding Artistic Director of Ensemble Musica Nova, MacDonald performs in concert as a jazz guitarist and as a conductor, and is professor of composition at Bishop's University in Sherbrooke (Lennoxville), Québec. He is a member of SOCAN and SODRAC, and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

MacDonald's Violin Concerto, begun in 1987 and completed in 1991, sparkles with life, both in its brilliant writing for the soloist and its imaginative use of orchestral colour. If you want a parallel, my feeling is that MacDonald's work has a closely-related uncle in the form of the Walton concerto: it shares the same sun-dappled textures, the same pervasive lyricism, the same concern with clarity. It is instantly appealing and ought to find favour with audiences wherever it is performed.

October 2011