our Founders


Matthew McDonald & Susanna Phillips

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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.

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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.

In the 2017-18 season, Ms. Phillips will return to the Metropolitan Opera for a tenth consecutive season to sing her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème, which will be broadcast through the Met’s Live in HD series. She will also make her role debut as Birdie in Blitzstein’s Regina in her debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, sharing the stage with Susan Graham and James Morris. Orchestra engagements this season include Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the soprano solo in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with the Oratorio Society, the soprano solo in Elijahwith the Music of the Baroque in Chicago, concerts in New York and Chicago with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Teddy Abrams’s leading the Milwaukee Symphony, Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. She will also give a recital at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago.