Rich MacDonald , a native of Port Huron, Michigan, USA, was heavily influenced by Motown and rock music in the 1960’s. While attending college at the University of North Texas in the late 1970’s, MacDonald was introduced to the jazz world through performance and historical tradition. He continues that thread today as a drummer and vibraphonist, performing at jazz venues in the tri-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. He is also principal percussionist with the LaCrosse (Wisconsin) Symphony Orchestra.
As a drumset and percussion specialist, Dr. MacDonald has presented clinics throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is an endorsee of Sabian cymbals and Vic Firth sticks and mallets, serving on their respective education teams. Some of MacDonald’s performance credits include: George Benson, Evan Christopher, Eddie Daniels, Wycliffe Gordon, Slide Hampton, Milt Hinton, JazzMN Orchestra, Delfeayo Marsalis, Rob Parton, Arturo Sandoval, Lonnie Smith, Mike Stern, Bobby Shew, Byron Stripling, and many others.
Dr. MacDonald earned his Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in Jazz Studies and his Master of Music (MME) in Music Education from the University of North Texas. His Doctorate (DA) is in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. MacDonald is a professor emeritus from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota – where he taught jazz and percussion studies from 1996-2020.
In recent years, Rich has been involved in several diverse recording projects, ranging from the JazzMN Orchestra (The Commission Project, 2018) to a new folk album by Johnsmith (Backroads, 2022). Since retiring from full-time teaching in 2020, his education focus has been on developing drumset pedagogy for all levels in all styles. He is excited to introduce his ideas to the iJazz community, and over the next several months will be finalizing five more volumes of his Drumset Concepts series for digital distribution.