The Ameriocan conductor, Geoffrey Andrew McDonald, earned his masters in orchestral conducting at Mannes College of Music, where he was the recipient of the Alma Askin Scholarship, the Felix Salzer Techniques of Music Award, and the Mannes Theory Essay Prize. Upon earning his bachelors degree (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Princeton University in musicology, McDonald was awarded the inaugural Edward T. Cone Memorial Prize for excellence in combining music scholarship and performance. has studied conducting with David Hayes, Phillipe Entremont, and Michael Pratt. He also studied piano, cello, and voice.
Geoffrey McDonald commands a broad repertoire with extensive experience in operatic, symphonic, and choral conducting. Hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as a “promising and confident” member of the new generation of American conductors, he is consistently praised for his musicality and versatility on the podium. The New York Times describes him as “an agile conductor…whose pacing is sure in both reflective and restless passages," and the New York Observer praises his "original and flexible musical imagination."
Geoffrey McDonald has served as Music Director of the Longy Conservatory Orchestra in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Bard College Orchestra (2011-2015), Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra (2010-2013), and Columbia University Bach Society (2009-12). He was Assistant Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (2009-2014), with whom he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012. He has also served as Assistant Conductor and Workshop Conductor for Opera Philadelphia.
As Music Director of New York City's On Site Opera, Geoffrey McDonald's passion for promoting new or neglected pieces with fresh and innovative presentations was evidenced in the critically-acclaimed, immersive production of Paisiello’s Barbiere di Siviglia in the summer of 2015. Of the production, Opera News wrote “McDonald led with brio and admirable ensemble,” while the New York Times noted “Geoffrey McDonald, drew stylish, nimble playing.” In past seasons, he led productions of George Frideric Handel's Orlando and Alcina, partnering with stage director R.B. Schlather to create inventive art-installation-opera. The New York Observer stated “Conductor Geoffrey McDonald repeated the miracle of nuanced coordination between orchestra and singers he recently accomplished with Orlando downtown.”
In 2014, Geoffrey McDonald was honored to conduct a performance of The Gotham Chamber Opera's production of El gato con botas. Of his work on Baroque operas, Parterre Box noted that his “graceful musical direction revealed an appealing affinity for Handel's music.” In performances of Igor Stravinsky and “Les Six” with the American Symphony Orchestra at the Bard Summer Music Festival, Musical America noted “McDonald conjured a delectable blend of sass and refinement from the Bard Festival Chamber Players”.
In the 2016-2017 season, Geoffrey McDonald appears as a guest conductor with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and will be joined by the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble in On Site Opera's production of Milhaud's La Mere Coupable. He will be conducting workshops and performances with Opera Philadelphia and National Sawdust, and will lead On Site's/Atlanta Opera's co-production of W.A. Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera. In Europe, he has been invited to make his German theater debut with Theater und Orchester Neubrandenburg/Neustrelitz for their production of Kálmán's Csardasfürstin, and invited to guest conduct Smetana's Ma Vlast with the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra in Prague.
Geoffrey McDonald is an active composer of instrumental and vocal music. He continues to perform on the cello as a member of Miracles of Modern Science, a Brooklyn-based indie rock band who have earned international attention for their infectiously catchy and eccentric chamber pop. In addition to his active freelance career, he has already established an impressive record as an engaging conductor-educator. He is a sought-after vocal coach, working with accomplished singers who appear on the world’s top stages.