Sara McDonald is an award winning vocalist/composer/arranger/french hornist living in Brooklyn, NY. During the five years that she has spent living in the city, Sara has earned a degree in Vocal Jazz Performance, with an emphasis in Composition from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. There, she studied with the likes of Theo Bleckman, Peter Eldridge, Becca Stevens, Jane Ira Bloom and Ingrid Jensen.
By the end of her senior year she was performing all around New York City with several of her own projects, and as a sideman in many other bands as well. In the two years since graduation, Sara has performed at The Montreal Jazz Festival (in 2013, and 2015), The Northside Festival (in 2013 and 2015), and The East Village Music Festival.
Sara recorded her first large ensemble EP with The All Jazz Orchestra in Munich, Germany in the fall of 2013. Shortly following the albumʼs debut, she was invited back to tour with the orchestra through Germany and Austria. In February of 2014, Sara won the prestigious ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award and by June was invited into the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. In the fall of 2014 she was awarded the ASCAP Pheobe Jacobs prize for her contributions in new jazz music. By the end of December, she completed a second large ensemble album with her own NY based big band, which will be released on March 16th 2016!
In March of 2015, she was invited to perform her original music at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as part of ASCAPʼs ʻSongwriters: The Next Generationʼ Showcase - which was hosted by NPRʼs Larry Groce. Sara has also taken her music to Cologne Germany where she performed at the Moers Festival with The Cologne University Big Band. The music she specifically writes for her own NY based big band has also been performed by the Urbana Pops Symphony as well as The Jazz Composers Big Band. Her progressive rock big band recently made their Lincoln Center debut at The David Rubenstein Atrium in December of 2015.