Matthew McDonald & Susanna Phillips
Matthew McDonald was appointed Principal Bassoon of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2013. Before his appointment there, he was Principal Bassoon of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Co-Principal Bassoon of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. McDonald has performed as soloist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra, as well as at the International Double Reed Society conference. He has appeared with festival orchestras such as the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Born in Huntsville, Alabama, McDonald began studying with Hunter Thomas, and later with Benjamin Kamins. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, McDonald had other teachers including Barrick Stees, Bernard Garfield, and Daniel Matsukawa. Along with soprano Susanna Phillips, McDonald co-founded Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival in Huntsville, Alabama, which had its inaugural summer in 2010.
Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists.
The 2016-17 season will see Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera for a ninth consecutive season starring as Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin conducted by Susanna Mälkki, as well as a return of her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. In March 2017, Ms. Phillips will make her Zurich Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She also appears as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Boston Baroque and Martin Pearlman. 2016-2017 orchestra engagements include a return to the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting a program of American songs, Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate” and his Mass in C Minor with Jane Glover and the Music of the Baroque, the Britten War Requiem with Kent Tritle and the Oratorio Society of New York, as well as Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Robert Spano leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Phillips will also perform recitals at the Celebrity Series of Boston, Huntsville Chamber Music Guild, National Museum for Women in the Arts, and her popular dual recital program with Eric Owens at Carnegie Hall and the Washington Performing Arts.
Highlights of Ms. Phillips’ previous seasons include numerous Metropolitan Opera appearances as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Pamina in Julie Taymor’s production of The Magic Flute, and Musetta in La Bohème. She also appeared at Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance as Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Reneé Fleming - a role she went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago and as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony. Additional highlights include her debut at Oper Frankfurt as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Arminda in Mozart’s La Finta Giradiniera at Santa Fe Opera, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Paul McCreesh and the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, and the title role in Handel’s Agrippina with Boston Baroque under Martin Pearlman.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Huntsville, over 400 people traveled from her hometown to New York City in December 2008 for Ms. Phillips’ Metropolitan Opera debut in La Bohème. She continues to be overwhelmed by the support she receives and returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.