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Martin MacDonald is one of Canada's most dynamic and outstanding conductors and has been awarded both the Heinz Unger Award and the Jean-Marie Beaudet Award for orchestral conducting. In January 2022, Martin was named Music Director of the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra based in Toronto, Ontario. Most recently, Martin was named Artistic Partner of the Brott Music Festival based in Hamilton, Ontario where he will conduct several programs throughout the 2024 summer and fall season. Martin has guest conducted extensively across Canada having worked with the orchestras of Toronto, National Arts Centre, Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Niagara, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. He has served as a Cover and Guest Conductor for the National Ballet of Canada for several productions, and has worked with the Minnesota Ballet, Atlantic Ballet, and Halifax Dance. Martin has recorded extensively for the CBC and for several commercial recordings. Most notably, Martin has served as Resident Conductor, Associate Conductor, and a regular guest conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia since 2008 with over 200 performances in a diverse range of programs and artists. Previously, Martin served as Associate Conductor of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and has participated in several international conducting workshops and competitions. Recently, Martin has led several live orchestra to film productions and has produced orchestral and opera livestreams and recordings for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Against the Grain Theatre.


Martin has a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from McGill University. At McGill, he studied conducting with Alexis Hauser, served as assistant conductor to the McGill Symphony Orchestra, and worked with both Opera McGill and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble as well as several other orchestral and chamber music activities. Martin has a Bachelor’s degree in Cello from Memorial University. Martin further studied conducting with Bernhard Gueller, Boris Brott, and Michael Jinbo; and in workshops with Kenneth Kiesler, Gustav Meier, Jorma Panula, and Johannes Schlaefli. Martin’s conducting activities have been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. As a cellist, Martin has performed extensively with many orchestras and chamber music ensembles throughout Canada.


Cape Breton born, Martin is the youngest of twelve children and has a diverse musical background with a strong Celtic music tradition including extensive touring and performing with members of his family throughout Europe and North America. Martin resides in Toronto, Ontario with his wife, Kristen and their daughter, Frances.


March 2024

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