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colin macdonald pocket orchestra

In 2006 Colin MacDonald formed his own chamber orchestra to develop his compositions for a larger instrumental force, inspired by and modeled after other composer-led ensembles such as Steve Reich and Musicians, the Michael Nyman Band, and the Graham Fitkin Group.  Combining instruments and performers that crossed the line between classical and jazz genres, between amplified and acoustic music, the Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra was born. Concert presentations of the Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra have been produced by the Redshift Music Society, the Yarilo Music Society, and by Music on Main.


The repertoire of the Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra is centered around the original compositions of Colin MacDonald, but also includes the work of established minimalist composers such as Michael Nyman, Graham Fitkin, Terry Riley, and Steve Martland.  Compositions by other ensemble members have also been added to the repertoire, including original works by Stefan Hintersteininger, Brad Muirhead, and Jared Burrows.

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Performing Highlights

  • In 2009 the ensemble performed in the Andriessen at 70 festival, presented by Music on Main, to celebrate the influence of Louis Andriessen on a younger generation of composers.  

  • In 2013 we gave the North American premiere of the "Fantasia for Piano and Pop Orchestra"(1962) by Bulgarian composer Bentzion Eliezer, a piece of jazz resistance composed during the Communist era. We also celebrated the life and work of British composer Steve Martland.

  • In 2016 we presented a new arrangement of Igor Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto" for clarinet and chamber orchestra, featuring soloist François Houle. Video below.

Meet The Pocket Orchestra

Colin MacDonald, soprano saxophone
David Branter, alto and soprano saxophones
Geeta Das, trumpet
Brad Muirhead, bass trombone
Martin Fisk, marimba
Jared Burrows, bass guitar
Anna Levy, piano
Elise Jacobsen, violin
Stefan Thordarson, violin
Stefan Hintersteininger, cello
Doug Gorkoff, cello  

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