John McDonald

john McDonald's Picture

A "fresh, inventive, urbane, and keen-witted young composer" (Boston Globe) and "a splendid pianist" "with a born pianist's command of colors, textures, dynamics" (Boston Globe), John McDonald has earned international acclaim as a musician. His compositions have been performed on four continents, and his work is frequently featured in the U.S.A. by such ensembles as Alea III, Arden Quartet, Boston Composers String Quartet, Hartt Contemporary Players, Marimolin, Rivers Trio, and Duo 101. Recently, McDonald served as Cultural Specialist in Mongolia, where he premiered his "Music for Piano and String Orchestra" and worked with students on his pedagogical works. In his performing capacity, recent honors include a Duo Recitalists' Grant from the NEA, an Artistic Ambassadorship to Asia, and an Artists' Residency at M.I.T. with soprano Karol Bennett (1995, 1993, 1990-91), as well as invitations to perform his works at conferences in Amsterdam, Budapest, Havana, Montreal, and St. Petersburg. McDonald’s solo piano recital of "Common Injustices" by twenty-five living composers given in September of 2001 prompted Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe to write "one can hardly imagine anyone else undertaking such a program, or playing it with such modest and unobtrusive but total musical and pianistic mastery."

Currently Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Tufts University, McDonald’s recent accomplishments have included Composer Residencies with the METYSO Youth Orchestra, the Southern Illinois University Music Department, and Duke University, commissions from American Composers Forum and the Harvard Musical Association, and First Prize in the Leo M. Traynor Composition Competition for music for viol consort.  [this bio is provided by International Clarinet and Saxophone Connection 2002]

Inventious Network (2002) [A Trope on Contrapunctus XIII
from J.S. Bach's"The Art of Fugue" for Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet, Piano, Harp, Guitar,and Percussion)

This short piece composed for the BRAVE NEW WORKS "Art of Fugue" project

pays homage to Bach's "Canon per Augmentationem in contrario motu" by
creating four overlapping "networks" or short pieces (one for
piano/harp/guitar, a second for flute/clarintet/percussion, a third for
piano and string quartet, and a fourth for clarinet and string quartet) made
from chunks of Bach's ever unfolding model. Two of the "networks" return and
are varied, and two occur only once, before a string of four duets (harp and
guitar, cello and harp, clarinet and viola, flute and violins) takes over
and thins the textures of the preceding "network" section. A final
appearance of the opening piano/harp/guitar material yields a ringing,
chordal closing section.

    "Inventious Network" attempts to accomplish much in a short space of
time, and exists in unabashed gratitude for the existence of the canons
found within Bach's unfinished work (I can get my hands on them and play
them often!). If it amplifies or refracts some of the light cast by its
formidable model, it will have one count of success.

    "Inventious Network" is dedicated to Chris Younghoon Kim with gratitude
and admiration."

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