ROBERT & ALEX MCDONALD, PIANO

Friday, March 17, 2017 | 8:00PM

SAINT-SAENS  The Carnival of the Animals

AUBER  Overture to The Bronze Horse

ANDERSON  Old MacDonald Had A Farm

A native of Dallas, Robert McDonald received his formal musical training at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin, studying with Dr. Doug Humpherys and Anton Nel respectively.  He has spent his summers at the Banff Summer Keyboard Master Classes and the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Robert is a strong advocate of multiple forms of classical keyboard performance, including solo rep ranging from Bach to Messiaen, chamber music, vocal collaborating and new works.  He recently gave the Texas premiere of Zack Stanton’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble (2012) with the UT Wind Symphony.  Robert has performed in recent master classes with John Perry, Menahem Pressler, John O’Conor and Pulitzer-prize winning composer Caroline Shaw.

Robert comes from a musical family, where his brother and fellow pianist Alex McDonald was a recent competitor in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.   His mom, Marcy, taught Robert for the first 13 of his keyboard years, and currently heads a thriving piano studio in North Texas.  In his spare time, Robert enjoys drinking coffee, studying theology and geeking out to the complete oeuvre of Joss Whedon.


Since his orchestral debut at age 11, pianist Alex McDonald has soloed with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has performed across the United States as well as in Israel, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and South Korea; additionally, he has been a featured performer on PBS, WRR (Dallas/Ft. Worth), KUHA and KUHF (Houston), NPR, and WQXR (New York City). Awards and fellowships include second prize at the 2007 New Orleans International Piano Competition and second prize at the 2001 Gina Bachauer International Young Artist Piano Competition. In 2008, he was named a Harvey Fellow by the Mustard Seed Foundation. In 2013, he was a competitor in the 2014 Van Cliburn Competition.

Highlights of this season include solo performances in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Tennessee, and will record his first CD consisting of Liszt, Haydn and others this Fall. Additionally, he is appearing as a chamber musician in Texas and Virginia with Joseph Kuipers and the Marinus Ensemble and Ensemble 75, as well as two-piano concerts with Cathy Lysinger in Oklahoma and Texas. He will also perform Shostakovich’s Concerto no. 1 with the Dallas Chamber Symphony this September and Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Variations on I’ve Got Rhythm with the Plano Symphony this Spring.

Dr. McDonald is currently on faculty at Texas Woman’s University, having previously taught at Richland College as well as at the Juilliard School. Additionally, his private piano students have been admitted to Juilliard, Eastman and New England Conservatory, and have performed at Carnegie’s Weill Hall and on WRR. Deeply concerned about a healthy integration of life with music, he has actively pursued community formation both as an R.A. in the Juilliard residence hall and as president of Juilliard Christian Fellowship.

Dr. McDonald received his pre-college training under Lois Nielson, his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance under Russell Sherman, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Juilliard under Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin. His doctoral document, a source study on manuscripts and editions for Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, has been cited in the most recent edition of the sonata by Alfred Publishers, edited by Nancy Bricard.