Donald MacKenzie was born in Ayrshire (Scotland) in 1970. In July 1992 (22 years ago) he began his long association with the world famous Odeon Leicester Square Compton Organ by playing it for film events. In October 1993 he was engaged to play the organ for 5 weeks before each performance of the Disney film, ‘Aladdin’. Since then he has appeared regularly at film premières, special events and organ concerts. He has broadcast from the Odeon on BBC Radios 2, 3, 4 and the World Service. He has been featured on a number of television programmes and Donald has played for numerous Royal Film Performances, including several in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
When he is not playing for concerts Donald specialises in the art of improvised accompaniments to silent films - his first public appearance accompanying films was aged 14, for a special evening screening in Paisley Town Hall. He has now more than twenty feature films ‘under his fingers’ including many of the major classics of the silent screen, as well as many different types of short silent films. These have been acclaimed by the critics and the audience absolutely love the experience of Donald’s accompaniment to a film. His stylish accompaniments have led to numerous engagements (with many repeats) throughout the UK at venues such as The Victoria Hall - Hanley, The Usher Hall - Edinburgh, The Alexandra Palace - London, The Music Hall - Aberdeen, The Caird Hall - Dundee, Leicester Cathedral, Wolverhampton Civic Hall, St Anne’s Cathedral - Belfast, Clonard Monastery - Belfast, De Montfort Hall Leicester, The Musical Museum - Brentford, The Organ Museum - St Albans and also in Europe and the USA.
His overseas concert appearances have included - in Poland at the Bielsko Biala Bach Festival, in Philadelphia (USA) at the Wanamaker Store and Girard College, in Holland for the Nederland’s Orgel Federation and several times in Germany playing the Moller organ in the music hall of the world famous organ building firm of August Laukhuff. At this venue he has also played for silent film evenings as part of the Hohenloher Cultural Summer Festival. In 2008 he was honoured to become a Patron of the Lancaster Town Hall Organ Restoration Project.
A highlight of Donald’s 2009 concert season was an appearance at the 70th Anniversary Concert for Blackpool Opera House where he accompanied the 1925 silent classic film ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. Highlights of Donald’s 2012 concerts included a capacity house at the Usher Hall cheering Donald’s accompaniment to ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ and him playing at The Royal Film Performance in the presence of The Duke of Cambridge.
In 2014 Donald played at Chelmsford CathedralFestival and made a return visit to the famous Spreckel's Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park in San Diego. In 2015 Donald returned to Balboa Park for their SIlent Movie Evening and performed his accompaniment to a Harold Lloyd feature film infront of an audience of over four-thousand people.
It's thrilling for Donald playing many fine organs across the globe and he would be delighted to hear from you if you would like him to play either for a concert of light or classical music or accompany a silent film with his own inimitable style and panache.
|Concerts in 2017|
|May 13th||Woking Leisure Centre|
|June 25th||Burtey Fen Collection|