Home 9 Composers 9 Don Macdonald

Don Macdonald (born 1966) is an award-winning composer of film and concert music and he has an eclectic musical background as a performer, producer, educator, and conductor.

Don’s composition credits include music for theatre and dance, published choral works, and forays into everything from rock and jazz to world and folk music. A multiple Canadian Film Awards nominee and 3 time Leo Award winner, he has over 50 film music credits and has worked with many of the major studios including 20th Century Fox and Lions Gate Films.

Don has been active as a choral singer since a very young age and as a result many of his works use voice in some way. Highlights include the 2-hour opera KHAOS, Tabula Rasa, (winner of the Da Capo Chamber Choir New Works Competition), and Fire-Flowers (a six-movement suite commissioned by the University of Western Ontario Women’s Choir). His choral works have been performed and recorded by many fine ensembles all over the world including Rajaton (Finland), the Vancouver Chamber Choir (Canada), and the Luther College Nordic Choir (USA).  

Don lives in Nelson, BC Canada and teaches at the Selkirk College Contemporary Music and Technology Program.

Ave Maria

by Don Macdonald

SATB    –  –  CP 1107   – 2:45
With varied dynamics, close harmonies, and several Soprano divisi sections, this composition is a gratifying and fulfilling challenge.

Ave Maris Stella

by Don Macdonald

SATB    –  –  CP 1550   – 4:20
This gorgeous composition . “Hail, Star of the Sea”, is among Macdonald’s finest with long phrases and lush harmonies. Give a listen and you’l be convinced!

Blues for a Green Boy

by Don Macdonald

SSATB a cappella    –  –  CP 1345   – 3:25
Does a person need to be sad to play the blues? Don’s wife, Allison wrote the lyrics. Could the happy guitar playing boy they describe be their own son? Charming and meaningful.

also sett for TTBB – ask about it!


by Don Macdonald

SSATB a cappella    –  –  CP 1251   – 4:20
This is a charming Jamaican folk song about a little girl named Eva.  Jazzy, rhythmic, and full of great harmony! Listen to the recording.


by Don Macdonald

SSATB a cappella    –    CP 1835   – duration 3:45
SSAA  a cappella    –    CP 1863   – duration 3:45

O! soft responsive voices of the night
I join your minstrelsy,
And call across the fading silver light
As something calls to me;
I may not all your meaning understand,
But I have touched your soul in shadow-land.

E. Pauline Johnson

The Piano

by Don Macdonald

SSATB a cappella    –  –  CP 1353   – 3:50
Who knew that a text by D.H. Lawrence could receive such a becoming choral setting!? Anyone who has ever played the piano will love this piece.

Tabula Rasa

by Don Macdonald

SATB (with divisi) – CP 1169 – 3:40
SSAA – CP 1318
TTBB – CP 1707
Tabula Rasa  – This Latin phrase translates as “Blank Slate” in English.  The composer had a specific image in mind when composing this music. A quiet moment between a mother and child when the mother sees, as she has never seen, the potential of the precious life she holds in her arms. A silent acknowledgement of her child and every child as a “blank slate” with seemingly limitless potential.

This emotionally uplifting work relies on gentle dissonances that ebb and flow with the Spanish text. It has been performed by youth choirs as well as professional ensembles and would make a great choice for festival competition. TABULA RASA was the winning composition of the 2010 DaCapo Chamber Choir NewWorks competition.

There Is No Rose

by Don Macdonald

SSATBB    –   CP 1222    – 4:30  
SSAA    –    CP 1106 
Don captures the glory and mystery of the Virgin birth with this exquisite composition.

Winter Sun

by Don Macdonald

SSAATB    –   CP 1288   – 3:20
SSSAAA    –    CP 1305 
“To light, to water, and the flow of birds through ancient stars.” Don has set the poignant poem of Canadian poet Malca Litovitz in his inimitable style. Don employs contemporary techniques with classical tonality – unusual and attractive at once and very convincing. Please give a listen.








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