Current Projects

Violin and Organ Duo

Duo Dialogue

Dialogue is a collaboration by violinist Daniel Fuchs and organist Mark McDonald. The Duo performs a variety of music, including original music and arrangments, from sonatas by Bach to the complex soundscapes of Arvo Pärt.

Royal Canadian College of Organists National Festival

Organ Festival Canada (Victoria 2020)

Organ Festival Canada 2020 is the Annual National Festival of Royal Canadian College of Organists. Held in Victoria, BC in July 2020, the festival will feature top artists from around the world on Victoria's world-class instruments. Mark serves on the Festival Organizing Committee.

Organ Festival Canada (Victoria 2020)

RCCO Summer Organ Academy

Founded in 2013 by Frances Macdonnell, the Student Academies of the Royal Canadian College of Organist's annual conventions welcome young organists from across Canada to participate in lessons, masterclasses and concerts with distinguished teachers. Mark McDonald is serving as administrator for the 2020 Academy in Victoria.

Choral Collective

One Equall Musick

The vocal ensemble One Equall Musick is a community of musicians in Montreal that works collectively to program, rehearse, and perform music of the highest quality from the 15th century to the present day. Mark McDonald served as Interim Artistic Director in 2018-19 and appears as a frequent collaborator.

Regional Organ Playing Competition

Lynnwood Farnam Organ Competition

Sponsored by the Montreal Centre of the RCCO, it is the longest running competition of its kind in Canada. Held annually in a Montreal area church, the competition has been funded over the years by donations from companies and by private contributions as well as by the foundation Les amis de l’art. Mark currently serves as competition director.

 

Past Initiatives & Collaborations

Canadian International Organ Competition

The world's premiere organ competition and festival

Founded in 2006, the CIOC promotes organ music through their annual festival and tri-annual organ competition which awards over $100,000 in prizes to the world's most prestigious young organists. Mark served as Operations and Logistics Manager from 2017 to 2019.

The Compline Choir at Dio

Choral Training Initiative

Founded by Mark McDonald in 2016, the Compline Choir at Dio sang the office of compline each Sunday evening during the academic term at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College. With an emphasis on training choristers in musicianship and chant notation reading, the choir met each week prior to the service to rehearse new music and introduce new members.

Kingston Summer Organ Academy

July 10 to 13, 2016

Founded in 2013 by Frances Macdonnell, the Student Academies of the Royal Canadian College of Organist's annual conventions welcome young organists from across Canada to participate in lessons, masterclasses and concerts with distinguished teachers. The 2016 edition in Kingston, Ontario for the "I Feel the Winds" Festival was coordinated by Mark McDonald.

The Complete Livre d'orgue de Montréal

Marathon Concert featuring over 50 musicians

For the 375th anniversary of the founding of the city of Montreal, McGill University invited nearly 50 organists to Redpath Hall to collectively perform the entire Livre d'orgue de Montréal, a large collection of French organ music which belonged to an 18th century organist at Montreal's Notre-Dame church. Mark served as project coordinator and producer.

McGill Summer Organ Academy

June 28 to July 2, 2017

A partnership between McGill University and the Montreal Organ Festival, the McGill Student Organ Academy welcomed a diverse group of students for an intensive week of lessons and masterclasses with a diverse faculty of distinguished teachers. Mark served as Academy Coordinator and Faculty Member.

St. James Organ Festival

Festival d'orgue St. James

Continuing the legacy of the long-running St. James Summer Recital Series, the Festival d'orgue St. James highlighted the church's magnificent organ restored in 2012 by Orgues Létourneau. Mark served as Artist Director from 2017-2019.

 

Research Projects

Bengt Hambraeus' Livre d'orgue: Critical Explorations & Revisions

Doctoral Dissertation

Abstract

The Livre d’orgue (1980/1) by composer and former McGill professor Bengt Hambraeus (1928–2000) is a collection of pieces written for Hellmuth Wolff’s groundbreaking organ built in 1981 for McGill University’s Redpath Hall. The collection, consisting of 48 pieces arranged in four suites, draws inspiration from the 18th century French classical Livre d’orgue tradition and includes detailed organ registrations for the Redpath Hall organ based on Dom Bédos de Celles’ treatise on organ-building and registration L’art du facteur d’orgues (1766, 1770, and 1778). The organ registrations are vital to the performer’s interpretation since they serve both as a guide for performing the music at the original Redpath Hall instrument and for expanding our knowledge of Hambraeus’ interpretation of French classical registration practices. For the performer, some distinct problems arise when interpreting these registrations at the Redpath Hall organ. For one, Hambraeus’ registrations, which were conceived away from the organ in the months prior to its completion, do not necessarily reflect the reality of the finished instrument. Additionally, the Redpath Hall organ has undergone a number of subtle but noteworthy changes in its voicing that must be considered when interpreting the registrations today. These, along with occasionally missing or incorrect markings in the score, required reflection and comment. My solution was to complete a careful analysis and review of the organ registrations in the Livre d’orgue in order to provide a more accurate and refined presentation of the pieces for future performers. This paper presents the findings of my research using examples from the 48 pieces in the collection corroborated by source material from the 18th century treatises on French organ registration. I also cite my research on the history of the construction and subsequent modifications to the organ in Redpath Hall and include an overview of Hambraeus’ other organ music.

 

©2017-2019 by Mark McDonald.
The views and opinions expressed on this website do not necessarily represent the views of the individual's employer, the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia.