Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meet the Judges: Robert McDonald

American pianist Robert McDonald has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the Far East as a soloist and in chamber recitals. His leading violin partners have been Isaac Stern and Midori. He also performs with Yung Uck Kim, Nadja Salerno–Sonnenberg and Elmar Oliverira, among other artists.

Mr. McDonald has a strong commitment to music education. He is on the piano faculties of both the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music and is director of the keyboard program of the Taos School of Music and Chamber Music Festival in New Mexico. He is a former faculty member at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Oberlin and the Peabody Conservatories, and gives classes regularly at the Glenn Gould Professional School in Toronto. Other summer teaching and festival activities include those in Bergen, Besançon, Lucerne, Montreux, Salzburg, Aldeburgh, and Schleswig­–Holstein festivals in Europe, the Marlboro, Brevard and Caramoor festivals in the United States, and the International School of Musical and Arts and the Banff Center in Canada. He also gives piano and chamber music master classes at prominent universities and music schools in the United States, Canada, Japan and Korea.

An active chamber musician, he has performed with the Juilliard, American, Muir, Takacs, Brenano, Fine Arts, St. Lawrence, Borromeo, Shanghai, Orlando, and Chicago quartets, as well as with Musicians from Marlboro on several of their tours. He has also appeared as soloist with the San Francisco, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Omaha, and Curtis symphony orchestras, the Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional of Costa Rica, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Haydn di Bolzano e Trento in Italy. In addition, he has given concerts for the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, NHK and BBC television Worldwide.

Among numerous awards, prizes, and grants, Mr. McDonald won the Gold Medal at the Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy, and top prizes at the William Kapell and Washington International Competitions in the United States. He is also the recipient of the National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant, and a Career Grant from the Philadelphia Foundation Arthur Hill Fund.

Mr. McDonald’s extensive recordings include those for Sony Classical, Vox, Bridge, Musical Heritage, CRI and ASV. An album of French sonata repertoire with Midori for Sony Classical received the Deutscher Schallplatten Critic’s prize in 2002.

A magna cum laude graduate of Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where Theodore Rehl was his principal teacher, Mr. McDonald continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Seymour Lipkin, Rudolf Serkin, and Mieczyslaw Horszowski; at the Juilliard School with Beveridge Webster; and at the Manhattan School of Music with Gary Graffman.

Robert McDonald's biography on Taos School of Music Web site

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