B i o g r a p h y
Iona McDonald is a violinist currently in the 2nd year of her 2 year Master of Arts degree studying with Maureen Smith and Michael Foyle at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Born in Dumfries, and with her early education in Moffat, Iona is a well-known young musician around Dumfries and Galloway. She has been a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester since 2019. Highlights of her time working with the GMJO include performing on the opening night of the Salzburg Festspiele in July 2021 and a collaboration with the GMJO and the Dresden Staatskapelle in March 2020.
Iona is a member of the Asaka Quartet. In October 2021 they were accepted onto the prestigious Frost Trust Advanced Specialist Strings Ensemble Training Scheme (A.S.S.E.T.) at the Academy where they are mentored by Martin Outram. After just 6 months of working together, they are delighted to have been appointed Chamber Music Fellows at the Royal Academy for 2022/23. Currently they are mentored by Martin Outram and also receive coaching from the Doric Quartet and the London Haydn Quartet. Recently, they received an invitation to the prestigious Music Coll 2022 by Jonathan Tunnell, Artistic Director of the Tunnell Trust, where they will work, study and perform on the beautiful Isle of Coll in June later this year.
She is also a keen orchestral player and the Royal Academy has presented many wonderful performance opportunities, including performing at the Wigmore Hall with the String and Wind Soloists ensemble in May 2019 and tour of Japan in Summer 2018. She regularly performs with the RAM Symphony Orchestra which she recently lead for their Midsummer Nights Dream project in January 2022. She is delighted to have been invited to lead the RAM Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Mahler 3 at the Royal Festival Hall conducted by Semyon Bychkov for the Academy’s 200th Anniversary Concert in June 2022. She was also selected as leader of the Opera Orchestra for the performances of Gianni Schicchi & L’heure Espagnol in November 2021 and lead the Manson Ensemble in November 2020. Iona has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland ensembles since the age of 8, touring China in 2015, performing at the Proms in 2016 and leading the Symphony Orchestra in the 2017 season. She is delighted to be joining them again in July 2022 as a soloist with the NYOS Junior orchestra.
Iona also works as a Senior Lead Ambassador with the Benedetti Foundation.
Iona has performed as soloist with Buxton Music Society, Musicale, Halifax Symphony Orchestra, Glasgow Chamber Orchestra and High Peak Orchestra whom she will be joining again in July 2022 to perform Chausson Poeme in the Buxton Festival Fringe.
She is grateful to be supported in her studies by the Sir James Caird Trust and the Craxton Memorial Trust.
Iona's violin is by Philip Ihle.