Praised for her “wonderfully evocative and spirited” performances (Textura), Dr. Heather Macdonald is a sought-after orchestral and chamber musician in Toronto, and a passionate advocate of music by living composers. Her FACTOR and Ontario Arts Council (OAC)-funded debut album, featuring new commissions and fresh takes on classics, is out now and available on all streaming platforms. Recent premieres include a new work for solo oboe by James Pecore, supported by SoundSCAPE Performance and Composition Exchange, and a new commission for oboe and ukulele by Chelsea McBride, supported by an OAC grant. Heather regularly performs with orchestras across North America - past highlights include the Colorado Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, Cheyenne Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Niagara Symphony, Musicians of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Soundstreams, Sinfónica Azteca, and many more. Equally at home as a soloist, she has performed lecture recitals on contemporary works for solo oboe at York University’s Intersections|Cross-sections and U of T’s Converge Toronto conferences.

As an educator, Heather maintains a full studio of oboe and piano students, and is on faculty at McMaster University’s School of the Arts. She also leads studio classes and teaches lessons as a teaching assistant in the oboe studio at U of T. She has taught masterclasses at MusicFest Canada's Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra Summer Festival, at the University of Colorado’s Summer Music Academy, and at several schools across Colorado and in the Greater Toronto Area.

Heather’s principal teachers include Sarah Jeffrey and Richard Dorsey (Toronto Symphony), Peter Cooper (Colorado Symphony), and Charles Hamann (National Arts Centre Orchestra). She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music from the University of Colorado, an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Ottawa.

Heather’s doctoral research explores the intersections between musicians’ health and music education. She has presented her research at numerous academic conferences including the International Double Reed Society, the International Symposium for Performance Science, the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), and the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare. Her study on playing-related injuries in oboe players was recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, and was recognized with numerous awards including PAMA's Brandfonbrener Young Investigator Award third prize, U of T’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition second prize, and multiple Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) grants.

When not performing or teaching, Heather loves to ride her bicycle, rock climb, and teach and practice yoga.