Geoffrey McDonald

Geoffrey McDonald (he/him) is a dynamic presence at the forefront of America’s contemporary opera scene, known for his “original and flexible musical imagination” (Observer) and confident technical command on the podium. Described by The New York Times as “an agile conductor…whose pacing is sure in both reflective and restless passages,” critics and audiences alike have lauded McDonald’s musical sensitivity across an uncommonly wide range of repertoire, as well as his ability to build and maintain dramatic intensity. A committed interpreter of new opera, he has led workshops and world premieres of operas for leading companies, such as Washington National Opera and Opera Philadelphia. Performance highlights include Minnesota Opera, Opera Saratoga, Wolf Trap Opera, Toledo Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Omaha, Chicago Opera Theatre, Curtis Opera Theatre, and Mannes Opera.

Since joining On Site Opera in 2015 as the company’s first Music Director, McDonald has demonstrated a unique ability to marshal performances of the highest musical standard in a variety of immersive settings, with Observer’s describing OSO’s Barber of Seville as a “miracle of nuanced coordination between orchestra and singers”. Of other recent On Site Opera performances, The New York Times noted, “Geoffrey McDonald drew stylish, nimble playing”, elsewhere admiring his “grace and verve”. One of the few conductors in opera combining empirical study and performance, McDonald is currently working toward a Ph.D. in music psychology at the University for Music in Freiburg, Germany.

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