Soprano Lorna MacDonald enjoys a career of distinction as a performer, Professor of Voice, and holder of the Lois Marshall Chair in Voice Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the recipient of two teaching awards, one from the Faculty of Music and Ontario’s OCUFA Award for “teaching excellence and outstanding contributions to university teaching”. In her early career, she received many national singing awards in the United States and she enjoyed numerous recordings with CBC Radio. Concert performances have taken her to Austria, Germany, France, Taiwan, the Republic of China, Russia, Africa, Wales, Ireland, England, Bermuda, and across North America. MacDonald premièred up to 40 new compositions, many written for her. She was named the 2018 Sir Ernest MacMillan Honorary Member in Music at the Toronto Arts and Letters Club in recognition of her contributions to the arts.
Among her students are Grammy-nominated musicians, singers on Broadway, teachers in the school and university systems, and professional opera singers in Europe and North America. An acknowledged expert in vocal health and pedagogy, Lorna created a multi-faceted graduate program in Voice Pedagogy in collaboration with medicine, speech-language pathology, and specialized voice and hearing practitioners at the University of Toronto. Doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students from across the country practice artful teaching based upon the biomechanics of the singing voice over the human life span.
Her research includes both performance and pedagogy. In collaboration with Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, she designed the curriculum for a Cochlear-Implanted Singing Study which aimed to increase vocal effectiveness for hearing impaired children and adolescents. A creative programmer, she created several performance projects including Marrying Mozart narrated by CBC’s Howard Dyck, Lois Marshall in Russia, and Woman in Love which toured to Taiwan. Lorna is the creator of the award-winning music-drama The Bells of Baddeck – the Alexander Graham and Mabel Bell Story which played at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, NS for two summer seasons. With composer Dean Burry and the creative team, the show garnered Parks Canada CEO Award in 2016 and was seen by over 5000 people. Her SSHRC Grant (2012) remains the largest single researcher grant in the 100-year history of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.
A proud native of Port Morien, Cape Breton, Lorna performed many times with her brother, organist David MacDonald, and his influence remains strong in her life. Their recitals and especially performances of Bach and Messiah are among her treasured experiences with him. In his memory she began the David MacDonald Bach Scholarship at the Maritime School for the Performing Arts, continuing David’s generosity toward young musicians.