Virginia MacDonald / Todd Marcus Quintet

  • July 2, 2022
  • 8:30 pm
  • TD Stage - Festival Village


Known for her lyrical and soulful clarinet playing, Virginia MacDonald has been described as a "powerful new voice in the Canadian scene" by Juno Award-winning bassist Mike Downes. Born and raised in Toronto, Virginia began playing clarinet at the age of seven. She has since established herself as a highly in-demand bandleader, sidewoman, and composer, and regularly performs across Toronto and Canada with different iterations of her quartet and quintet. Virginia has performed in several Canadian and International jazz festivals including the Cambridge Jazz Festival, the Jaipur Jazz & Blues Festival, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, the TD Markham Jazz Festival, the TD Halifax Jazz Festival, the Beaches International Jazz Festival, the Kensington Market Jazz Festival, and the Cape Breton Jazz Festival. Virginia has had the opportunity to work internationally in the United States, India, and Europe.

Virginia has worked alongside and performed with musicians including Ira Coleman, Harold Mabern, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller, Kirk MacDonald, Neil Swainson, Terry Clarke,
Bernie Senensky, Lucian Gray, and Laura Anglade. She appeared on Juno Award-winning saxophonist Kirk MacDonald’s 2015 big band release, Common Ground, and his latest 2018 release with the great Harold Mabern, Generations: Ballads & Standards. In 2020, Virginia was selected as the first-prize winner of the International Clarinetist Corona Competition; judges included Grammy Award-nominated artists Anat Cohen and Victor Goines.

In addition to her busy performance schedule, Virginia is an in-demand educator and has given workshops at universities and post-secondary music programs both locally and internationally. She has led masterclasses at McGill University, University of Toronto, the Global Music Institute, and the True School of Music.Virginia is on the faculty at the Bob Mover Academy of Music, alongside jazz legends such as Charles MacPherson, Sheila Jordan, and Billy Drummond.

Bass clarinetist/composer Todd Marcus is one of the few jazz artists worldwide to focus their work primarily on the bass clarinet. Though use of bass clarinet in jazz typically leans heavily towards avant-garde and free-jazz styles, Marcus’ straight-ahead playing has carved out a unique voice for the instrument in modern jazz.

Marcus has annually been voted a Rising Star in Downbeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll since 2013 on “clarinet” and “miscellaneous instrument” categories.

Based in Baltimore, MD, Marcus actively leads small ensembles such as the Todd Marcus Quintet, Quartet, Trio, and Duo as well as his nine piece band The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra on original compositions and jazz standards.

He has worked with other jazz artists such as Gary Bartz, Bennie Maupin, Don Byron, Larry Willis, Odean Pope, Gary Thomas, Joel Frahm, Tim Warfield, Ralph Peterson, Warren Wolf, Sean Jones, Xavier Davis, George Colligan, and Orrin Evans.

Marcus’ performances include national and international touring. He was a featured artist in 2017 Jazz Tales Festival in Egypt, 2015 Cairo Jazz Festival in Egypt, and in 2005 at the 1st World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, Holland.