James MacDonald is the associate dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College in Chicago, where he is also a Professor of Music. He has been Elmhurst Choral Union's music director and conductor since 1998.
Mr. MacDonald has been conducting for over twenty-five years, and has been the music director and conductor of the West Suburban Symphony, the Westminster Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Businessmen's Orchestra, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Chicago, the James Chorale, and the Loop Group. He has served as the artistic director of the Genesis Opera Group, and has also conducted for the American Opera Group.
He has conducted in many parts of the world, including performances with the Ho Chi Minh City Symphony in Viet Nam, the Ploiesti Philharmonic in Romania, the Sochi, Karelia, and Congress Philharmonic Orchestras in Russia, and the Komische Kammer Oper Munchen (Comedic Chamber Opera of Munich), Germany. Most recently, he conducted the Vratza State Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, and conducted a recording with the Academic Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Locally, Mr. MacDonald has conducted for the Chicago Humanities Festival, the Fox Valley Symphony in Wisconsin, the Lira Singers, the American Opera Group, the New Music Chicago Festival, and for new music concerts at DePaul and Northwestern Universities.
James MacDonald is author of a theory and ear training textbook, a producer of both classical and rock and roll recordings, and is an active clinician and lecturer.