With an established reputation as one of Canada’s leading saxophonists, Kirk MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thir-teen. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, and has worked with many leading musicians in a variety of musical genres. He has performed on over fifty CDs as both leader and sideman, and has participated in numerous national broadcast recordings for CBC Radio. In addition to performing extensively throughout Canada, he has also performed in the USA, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Monaco, Australia, Korea, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
For over thirty years Kirk has worked and recorded with many leading Canadian, U.S. and International jazz musicians including Claude Ranger, Dave Young, Sam Noto, Sonny Greenwich, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Harold Mabern, Walter Bishop Jr., Tom Harrell, Lorne Lofsky, Bob Mover, Pat LaBarbera, John Taylor, Ron McClure, Jack DeJohnette, Mike Stern, Jim McNeely, Bob Mintzer, Vince Mendoza, John Clayton, Chris Potter, Glenn Ferris, Maria Schneider, Dave Grusin, Danilo Perez, Adam Rogers, Dennis Mackrel, Nancy Walker, Barry Romberg, Andre White, Rob Smith, Brian Dickinson, Denny Christianson, Bernie Senensky, Phil Nimmons, James Moody, Rosemary Clooney, Humber College Faculty Ensemble.
Over 100 performances of his compositions appear on 24 CDs, both as leader on his own recordings as well as on recordings by other artists. Kirk’s most recent activities include the release of Family Suite (2008), an 11 part suite for jazz quartet on Romhog Records, and Songbook Vol. I (2009) – a collection of his compositions for jazz quartet, on ADDO Jazz Records, with Songbook Vol. II (2010). Kirk also leads the Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra (KMJO), a 19-piece all-star ensemble dedicated to performing his original compositions and featuring arrangements by leading Canadian and U.S. Writers. The KMJO released its debut record-ing Deep Shadows in March 2011, and in May of 2012 released a re-working of Family Suite for Large Ensemble. In the fall of 2013 Kirk’s eleventh recording Symmetry was released, featuring jazz great Tom Harrell. His latest recording Vista Obscura was released in 2014 and features jazz legend Harold Mabern and special guest saxophonist Pat LaBarbera.
Kirk has been active as an educator for 27 years at leading jazz studies programs such as at the University of Toronto and McGill University. Kirk is presently a full time professor at Humber College in Toronto, where he holds a cross appointment in the Music Degree Program and the Community Music School. Kirk also acts as the Artistic Director for the “Youth Jazz Canada” project and directs the “National Youth Jazz Combo”. This project also hosts a 2 week workshop in the summer for high school and post-secondary students.
Kirk has been active as an educator for over 25 years at leading Canadian jazz studies programs including McGill University (1988) and the University of Toronto (1993-2005). He also taught at Ottawa University and Carleton University. Since 2005 Kirk has held a full time professorship at the renowned music program at Humber College in Toronto, where he holds a cross appointment in the Music Degree Program and the Community Music School. In addition to his teaching at Humber College Kirk also acts as the Artistic Director for the Youth Jazz Canada project and has directed the Greater Toronto Area Honour Combos (2009-2012) and the National Youth Honour Combo ( 2012-2013). The Youth Jazz Canada project also hosts a 2 week summer workshop for high school students aged 14 to 18 in Toronto (2010-2013). Kirk is in high demand as a clinician and has conducted master classes in saxophone, improvisation, and composition throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.