Winner of the prestigious Heinz Unger Award for Orchestral Conducting from the Ontario Arts Council, Martin MacDonald is one of Canada's most dynamic and outstanding young conductors. Including posts as a Cover Conductor and Guest Conductor for the National Ballet of Canada and former Associate Conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia, Martin has conducted extensively across Canada having appeared with the orchestras of Toronto, the National Arts Centre, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, London, Niagara, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Sudbury, Newfoundland, Kamloops, Prince George, and Orchestra Toronto. He has also worked with the Minnesota Ballet, Atlantic Ballet Theatre, recorded extensively for the CBC, and recorded several commercial recordings including the album True North: The Canadian Songbook which featured orchestras from coast to coast: Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Winnipeg, the National Arts Centre, Kitchener-Waterloo, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.
Martin served as Resident Conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia from 2008-2011, where he contributed to all facets of the organization, conducted over 100 performances, and was awarded the Jean-Marie Beaudet Award for Orchestral Conducting from the Canada Council for the Arts. Previously, Martin served as Associate Conductor of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada from 2006-2008. As well, he has worked with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali Milan, and the Akademisches Orchester Zurich in conducting workshops, and was one of only two Canadians to be invited to the 2008 IX Cadaques Orchestra International Conducting Competition in Barcelona, Spain. He has served on the board of directors of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, and he has extensive experience as a cellist with various orchestras across Canada.
Martin has a Master’s in Orchestral Conducting from McGill University, and a Bachelor’s in Cello from Memorial University. He has studied conducting with Alexis Hauser, Bernhard Gueller, Boris Brott, 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.
Born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Martin is the youngest of 12 children and his training began at age six. Martin has a diverse musical background with a strong Celtic music tradition in his heritage and has toured and performed Celtic music extensively with members of his family throughout Europe and North America.
Martin resides in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Kristen and their daughter, Frances.