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ABOUT

"His kind of talent, energy and determination won’t be denied."

- Alex Varty, Georgia Straight

"MacDonald’s sound with both his saxophones was spectacular."

- Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

"Colin is one of those musicians that really make me feel happy and privileged to live and make music in Vancouver."

- Dr. Jared Burrows

Colin MacDonald is a freelance saxophonist, composer and arranger living in Vancouver, BC. A former member of the new music chamber group Ensemble Symposium, and the Balinese gamelan Gong Gita Asmara, Colin regularly performs with the Saxophilia Saxophone Quartet, the Cascadia Reed Quintet, and his own chamber orchestra The Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra. He has also worked extensively with Vancouver New Music, the Redshift Music Society, the Erato Ensemble, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the West Coast Symphony, and the Kamloops Symphony. 

Colin studied jazz arranging with Fred Stride, world rhythms with Glen Velez and Trichy Sankaran, and Balinese gamelan with Michael Tenzer and Dewa Ketut Alit. With a composition style rooted in the traditions of American and European minimalism, Colin also incorporates elements of rhythmic practices from world music cultures in West Africa, Indonesia, and Latin America. Colin’s works have been premiered by the Turning Point Ensemble, Continuum Contemporary Music, Gamelan Gita Asmara, Sekaah Gong Cenik Wayah, Ad Mare Wind Quintet, The Microscore Project, the Vertical Orchestra, Fringe Percussion, the Yarilo Duo, the Saxophilia saxophone quartet, saxophonist Julia Nolan, and pianist Marguerite Witvoet. In 2006 he formed his own chamber orchestra, The Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra, to present his original compositions for large ensemble. Colin’s debut CD Circle of Wind containing his chamber compositions for saxophone was released in 2011. His hour-long installation work for 16 saxophones, The Sky is a Clock, was released in 2020 on Redshift Records.