Mattew McDonald


Berliner Philharmoniker



"The double bass group has to be an incredibly flexible motor. On the one hand, we have an important rhythmic function: not only do we set the beat, we also have to know when we should take it over from others. On the other hand, we form the harmonic foundation without which the upper voices and certain dissonances would have no effect. Finally, we have some wonderful tunes to play in the romantic repertoire. So our job is very varied. This bass group is just amazing. At my first rehearsal, I could hardly believe that this wonderfully beautiful sound and I were on the same podium together. At first I had the feeling that I would only damage this sound with my playing."

As a kid, Matthew McDonald only wanted to play jazz and rock music. His parents gave him an electric bass for Christmas - but only on the condition that he also learn to play the double bass. Matthew McDonald quickly fell in love with the soft, dark tone of the large instrument. In 1996 he began his studies at the Canberra School of Music with Max McBride, later continued in Sydney with Kees Boersma and completed his Bachelor of Music there in 2000. From 2000 to 2001 he was a scholarship holder of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic. He then got a job as deputy solo bassist with the Danish National Orchestra DR, which he gave up again to do the concert exam with Esko Laine at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin. This was followed by engagements in solo positions with the Ensemble Modern (2003-2006), the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, before he joined the Berlin Philharmonic as principal double bass. As a chamber musician, Matthew McDonald is a regular guest at the Open Chamber Music Prussia Cove in Cornwall. In his spare time he devotes himself primarily to his family, reads a lot and likes to go to the cinema.