We’re thrilled to have Guest Conductor and Cape Breton native Martin MacDonald lead the HPO and special guests the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Home for the Holidays this Saturday, December 20 at 7:30pm in FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place). As we prepare for our holiday concert this year, we thought you might like to know more about Martin before he takes the stage tomorrow night.

Winner of the prestigious 2013 Heinz Unger Award for Orchestral Conducting from the Ontario Arts Council, Canada’s highest prize for orchestral conducting, Martin MacDonald is one of Canada’s most dynamic and outstanding young conductors of his generation. Martin is increasingly sought after as a guest conductor having conducted several orchestras across Canada. Currently, Martin serves as Associate Conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, where he will travel to conduct several programs with SNS while remaining based in Toronto, Ontario.

For 2014-15, as well as his work with Symphony Nova Scotia (SNS), Martin has been engaged by the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, two programs with Orchestra London Canada, a return engagement with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Toronto. In 2013-14, Martin made his debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestra London, and returned to conduct the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra as well as several programs with SNS. Guest appearances in the 2012-13 season included returns to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as engagements with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. In 2011-12, Martin’s guest conducting engagements included the orchestras of Edmonton, Thunder Bay with the Minnesota Ballet, Prince George, SNS, and multiple appearances with both the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Martin is the youngest of 12 children and his training began at the age of six with cello, violin and piano. He is an alumnus of both the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland youth orchestras. Martin has a diverse musical background with a strong Celtic music tradition in his heritage – he has toured and performed Celtic music extensively with members of his family throughout Europe and North America.