Session Musician

Bio and Credits

Welcome to the website of Grammy nominated and Emmy winning arranger/composer Chris McDonald.

Artists he has arranged for include Carrie Underwood, Ricardo Arjona, Jennifer Holliday, Gaby Moreno, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Kirk Franklin, Sara Evans, Patti Austin, and scores of others. His arrangements have been recorded by orchestras all over the world, and he is frequently called upon to conduct large studio orchestras including the 80 piece orchestra on Matchbox 20’s “Mad Season” project.

He has orchestrated scores for several major motion pictures, among them the 2001 release, “All The Pretty Horses” which was nominated for a Golden Globe for best musical score.

Chris’ award winning music embodies many genres including big band jazz, salsa, pop, country and rock. With more than 6,000 recording sessions to his credit, his stylistic versatility, while retaining a unique voice, consistently adds to every project he undertakes.

A list of Chris’ Artist Album credits is available here

Film Orchestration Credits

“THE WOMAN AT JACOB’S WELL”
“HORTON HEARS A WHO” (theatrical trailer)
“AN UNFINISHED LIFE” (Jennifer Lopez/Robert Redford/Morgan Freeman)
“SEABISCUIT” (additional music)
“REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES” (additional music)
“FUN WITH DICK AND JANE” (additional music)
“ALL THE PRETTY HORSES” (Matt Damon/Penelope Cruz)(Golden Globe nominee- Best original score)
“SIOUX CITY” (Lou Diamond Phillips)
“ERNEST/ SCARED STUPID”
“ERNEST RIDES AGAIN”
“ERNEST GOES TO SCHOOL”

Commercial and TV Music

Chris’ compositions and arrangements can be heard in music for:

DISNEY HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS (2017) arranger/orchestrator for Hollywood Boulevard background music.
SEAWORLD ORLANDO(2017) Composer/orchestrator for “POP” featuring Fan Yang.
SEAWORLD ORLANDO(2017) Orchestrator for fireworks show
CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS(2017) Dustin Lynch
CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS(2016) Opening production number with Jennifer Nettles
CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS(2015) Opening production number with Jennifer Nettles and Pentatonix
CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS(2013) Opening production number with Kellie Pickler
YOU SHOULD DREAM-THE TEXAS TENORS (PBS-Emmy Award to Chris for composing/arranging)
JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB (The History Channel)
A CAPITOL FOURTH (National Symphony Orchestra)(2012,2013,2015,2016)
WILD ON THE RIVIERA
E NEWS LIVE
NISSAN
CHEVROLET
BUICK
LA LAKERS
ABC COLLEGE FOOTBALL
SIX FLAGS
OHIO LOTTERY
SPRINT
TBS
BUSCH NATURAL LITE
ALLSTATE
VIVID
HARDEE’S
AUDI
DOMINOE’S
K-MART
DODGE
RC/DIET RITE
DISNEYLAND
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
PURINA
ALBERTO VO5
DETROIT TIGERS
NBC ’93
LA RAIDERS
KROGER
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
REGIS & KELLY
’92 OLYMPICS (CLOSING CEREMONY)
MIGHTY DUCKS OF ANAHEIM
THE HISTORY CHANNEL
THIRD NATIONAL BANK
REGIONS BANK
TENNESSEE PRIDE
PAPA JOHN’S
CNN/TALK BACK LIVE
PIGEON FORGE
POPEYE’S CHICKEN
CLEVELAND BROWNS
CNN/HEADLINE NEWS
ESPN CLASSIC
THE PAMPERED CHEF
WGN/CUBS
SUBWAY

Comments (14)

  • Chuck Johnston

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    A trombonist in high school and the Navy (Frank Rosolino was my idol) and a jazz fan forever, I just now listened to you “Big Band Christmas” and was blown away bythe band’s tightnss and togetherness. Thearrangements are great.

    Reply

    • slidemcd

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      Thanks, Chuck-as a trombonist, Navy brat, and Rosolino fan, I appreciate your comments!

      Reply

  • Gregg

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    As a pianist of many, many years, I am consistently blown away by arrangers such as yourself, Gordon Goodwin, etc. !!! How on earth do you function on soo many levels/places/keys at the same time ???
    I thought playing the piano was difficult until I started listening to some of you guy’s stuff…………….YEOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I met some great arrangers in the USAF band, and then tried a couple charts myself. SHEEEEEET it AIN’T EASY………….mY DEEPEST respect to you Sir,
    Gregg

    Reply

  • Fred Hassett

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    I’ve been an avid listener of Big Band music since the 50’s and played a little trombone from time to time and I’ve never heard a better arrangement than your arrangement of Blue Christmas from your In the Mood for Christmas CD. All the songs are terrific and the band is out of this world. Great job and thanks for many, many hours of great listening

    Reply

    • slidemcd

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      Thank you, Fred- I really appreciate it!

      Reply

  • Stuart McLean

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    I am another trombonist with a good bit of time in Navy Bands (23+ years!). My first exposure to your incredible music was hearing the “Big Band Christmas” on XM radio. My wife and I are totally digging it! Thanks for the great music!

    Reply

    • slidemcd

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      Thank you Stuart, and thank you for your service!

      Reply

  • Don

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    Are your arr. for sale? i.e. Hymns

    Reply

    • slidemcd

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      Yes, check the “Store” tab upper right on the home page.

      Reply

  • jim compton-schmidt

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    i am a jazz d.j. who focuses on “student jazz” for kfcf, fresno, ca and i run into your name with several schools who use your music…i would love to be in contact with you…. “don’t fret the board” is one of the great pieces… do you have any idea of the schools who are using or have used your compositions? (i believe i am the only jock anywhere who focus’ on student jazz…

    jim compton-schmidt, kfcf
    1326 west kramer ridge road
    reedley, ca 93654

    Reply

  • Gary Berg

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    I discovered you and our lush sounds on Pandora, Roses and canleight. Having been a band leader in my younger days and collecting many vinyls and now dc.s Iam really impressed with your subtle but lush sounds. Keep it up!

    Reply

    • slidemcd

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      Thank you, Gary!

      Reply

    • slidemcd

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      Thank you, Gary! I appreciate it.

      Reply

  • John Quinn

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    Email me a list of available CD albums. I have five Chris McDonald albums and want to purchase more. Thanks.

    Reply

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Copyright 2016 Chris McDonald