Praised for his “athletic” and “impressive and stylistically Scottish playing” (Dr. John Turner & Dr. Melinda Crawford), Tim Macdonald is a regular performer, scholar, composer, and teacher of early Scottish fiddle music.
Tim was the first US National Scottish Fiddling Champion to win on a Baroque violin, and his performances with Trio Settecento, Susie Petrov, The Newberry Consort, Dave Wiesler, and many others have taken him from New York City’s Frick Collection to the villages of Indonesia, countless country and contra dances, Scotland’s Blair Castle, and beyond. Favorite projects include helping to perform Scotland’s first opera, The Gentle Shepherd, in full for the first time in over two centuries, lecturing on applying the rhetorical ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment to modern fiddling, playing fully-staged Elizabethan jigs with Steve Player, joining classical superstar Rachel Barton Pine for an encore of traditional tunes following her performance of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and serving as music and dancing master at a thoroughly-researched recreation of a 1770s American tavern. His radio appearances include WQXR classical radio (New York City), BBC Scotland’s Take the Floor, WGN & WDCB (Chicago), and WBOM (Rockford).
His debut album, The Wilds (with cellist Jeremy Ward), celebrates the diversity of Scottish fiddle music in the 18th century, and has been described as “fresh and yet authentic sounding” (Dr. John Purser) and “a belter” (Dr. David McGuinness).
He is the chairman of the Chicago Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, the Musician-in-Residence for the Oak Park English Country Dancers, and is in demand for SCD balls, English country dances, contras, and “Playing for Dance” workshops across the country. He is perennially in charge of dance music at The Jink and Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling and has also played for English-Scottish-Contra Week (ESCape) at Pinewoods.
In addition to performing, Tim runs a private teaching studio and teaches at fiddle camps and clubs, including one he founded. His compositions won first place at the first two Scottish FIRE Composition Competitions and are now available in print. A “remarkably capable” researcher of Scottish-Baroque music (Dr. Johann Buis) who “combin[es] the intelligence of a talented scholar with the experience of a top-level performer” (Rachel Barton Pine), Tim was an Arthur and Lila Weinberg Fellow at the Newberry Library, has presented papers at the Musica Scotica (Stirling) and NAFCo (Aberdeen) conferences in Scotland, and has guest lectured at Northwestern University (IL), Wheaton College (IL), High Point University (NC), the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music (Plockton, Scotland), and elsewhere. He also plays the viola d’amore, harpsichord, and concertina, serves on the board of the Great Lakes Baroque (with artistic director Jory Vinikour), and is an award-winning software developer.