With an established reputation as one of Canada's leading saxophonists, Kirk MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thirteen. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, and has worked with many leading musicians in a variety of musical genres. He has performed on over 40 CDs as both leader and sideman, and has participated in numerous national broadcast recordings for CBC Radio. In addition to performing extensively throughout Canada, he has also performed in the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Monaco, Australia, Korea, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
For over 25 years Kirk has worked and recorded with many leading Canadian, U.S. and International jazz musicians including Claude Ranger, Dave Young, Sam Noto, Sonny Greenwich, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Harold Mabern, Walter Bishop Jr., Lorne Lofsky, Bob Mover, Pat LaBarbera, John Taylor, Ron McClure, Mike Stern, Jim McNeely, Vince Mendoza, John Clayton, Chris Potter, Glenn Ferris, Nancy Walker, Barry Romberg, Andre White, Rob Smith, Brian Dickinson, Denny Christianson, Bernie Senensky, Phil Nimmons, James Moody, Rosemary Clooney, and the Humber College Faculty Ensemble.
Over 65 performances of his compositions appear on 18 Cds, both as leader on his own recordings as well as on recordings by other artists. Kirk's most recent activities include the release of Family Suite (2008), an 11 part suite for jazz quartet on Romhog Records, and Songbook Vol. I (2009) – a collection of his compositions for jazz quartet, on ADDO Jazz Records, with Songbook Vol. II scheduled for release in 2010. Kirk also leads the Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra, a 19-piece all-star ensemble dedicated to performing his original compositions & featuring arrangements by leading Canadian and U.S. writers.
As a composer, he has recorded over 50 of his own compositions. Most recently, a number of his pieces have been arranged for large ensembles by leading Canadian and American arrangers. Kirk MacDonald has been active as an educator for almost 25 years at both the college and university levels.