“less to be listened to than immersed in"
- John Sakamoto, The Anti-Hit List

Recognized across Canada and internationally as a dynamic singer and performer, Laurel MacDonald began her professional career in 1990 by composing soundtracks for independent film. Soon after she combined talents with music producer, sound designer and composer Phil Strong, marking the beginning of a now more than twenty-year creative partnership under the moniker Improbable Music.

MacDonald launched her career as a solo singer in 1994. She has since released five CDs and EPs, each produced by Strong, to widespread critical acclaim. Her debut CD Kiss Closed My Eyes was released in 1994. In 1997 she signed to Wicklow Records, a world music label created by Canadian music management notable Sam Feldman along with Paddy Moloney, leader of the legendary band the Chieftains, and her sophomore CD Chroma was released worldwide by Wicklow/BMG Classics in 1999. Wicklow also released Wingspan, an EP featuring remixes of MacDonald’s music by Transglobal Underground, John Oswald and Bill Laswell. MacDonald released another EP Stars & Elements in 2000, and her third full-length CD Luscinia’s Lullaby in 2005.

MacDonald has been featured in several prominent CD compilations including Here & Now: A Celebration of Canadian Music (Sony Music Canada), and Crooning on Venus, a vocal compilation created by British music critic David Toop for Virgin Records UK, and her work has been profiled in a BRAVO! documentary film by Su Rynard entitled Kiss Closed My Eyes.

MacDonald’s music and voice have appeared in many television productions, including the dramatic series Heartland, Regenesis, Point Pleasant, PSI Factor and Taking the Falls, and mini-series The Salem Witch Trials. Feature film credits include Replicant, Splice, Shake Hands with the Devil, Black Dahlia, Tripping the Wire, The Hanging Garden, Kardia and The Messenger.

Dance and theatre credits include the Stratford Festival of Canada, Toronto Dance Theatre, Alberta Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company of New York, and the ballet of the Opéra National de Paris.

In 2003, MacDonald and Strong received a Gemini Award for their score for the dance film The Year Of The Lion, produced by the BRAVO! Television Network and CBC Television.

MacDonald has been heard extensively on public radio, with feature coverage on CBC programs Morningside, The Arts Tonight and Definitely Not the Opera. She appeared in a feature interview with John Schaefer of the legendary radio program New Sounds at WNYC in 2005, and her CD Luscinia’s Lullaby was chosen the #1 Essential Echoes CD of 2005 by the Public Radio International program Echoes.

In 2002 MacDonald began her initial forays into the world of video and sound installation art. She exhibited her first video/sound installation work Shimmer:Jitter at the Making Room Festival in Toronto in 2006. In 2007 she acted as project coordinator, music arranger and sound recordist for Qui, a sound installation by John Oswald; a multi-lingual choral work for 29 voices over 29 speakers on permanent exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Since then she has exhibited several video/sound installation works including Dear Provenance (Toronto Alternative Fashion Week, 2009), if I love you if you love me (Luminato Festival, 2009), one two many few (Festival international du film sur l'art, 2010) and Virgoscillo (The Artist Project, 2013).

In 2011 MacDonald attended a full time residency at the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab, where with project partner Shawn Kerwin she developed an art app entitled Alone Together. The app was launched at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in October 2011. In 2012 MacDonald created the programmed choreography [Arc]hitecture for the kinetic Windscape installation at Luminato festival in Toronto.

She premiered her video/sound installation XXIX as part of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in October 2010, where it received the Scotiabank People’s Choice Award in the Open Call category. In 2011, XXIX and MacDonald’s dance film Sequential Duet were screened at film festivals in five countries, and XXIX has since been presented as a video and 21-channel sound installation at BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre) and at angelica festival international di musica, Bologna.

In 2008 MacDonald and Strong launched the Videovoce performance project, integrating voice with electronics and video. With Strong at the sound design helm, they have taken this project to the NXNE, Summerworks, Art School (Dismissed) and SOUNDplay festivals in Toronto, to Factory Media Centre in Hamilton, MUTEK in Montreal, and to Sound Symposium in St. John's Newfoundland.

She is also a member of the ensemble Darbazi, performing the traditional vocal music of the republic of Georgia in concerts from Toronto to Tbilisi since 2003.

MacDonald is currently in development, along with her first cousin and longtime associate, singer Mary Jane Lamond, of a new performance project entitled Patchwork. The work will integrate repertoire from the Helen Creighton collection of folk songs from Nova Scotia with live electronics and video design, and is slated to premier in summer 2016.
Background Image: Sandhill cranes returning to their nesting ground at sunset on Manitoulin Island, Canada