Payton MacDonald is a percussionist who works across a wide range of musical disciplines. He was a founding member of Alarm Will Sound, a new-music chamber orchestra. Alarm Will Sound is currently regarded as one of the foremost new music ensembles in the country, with multiple recordings and performances all over the globe. He has also appeared as a soloist in many countries, performed with Present Music and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Verederos flute and percussion duo, and toured Japan with Keiko Abe and the Galaxy percussion group.
MacDonald has dedicated much of career to expanding the art of marimba playing. To that end he has commissioned many works from other composers, including Charles Wuorinen, Robert Morris, Caleb Burhans, Don Freund, Peter Jarvis, Elliott Sharp, David Saperstein, Michael Udow, Stuart Saunders Smith, Gene Pritsker, and many others. MacDonald is also one of the few marimbists in the world who is a dedicated improviser. He frequently improvises entire performances, and works with other notable improvisers, including Billy Martin, Elliott Sharp, Aakash Mittal, Kevin Norton, Peter Evans, Tim Feeney, Todd Sickafoose, Theo Metz, and many others. MacDonald has released several recordings and YouTube videos of his improvisations. MacDonald has also performed and recorded on marimba with acclaimed singer/songwriter Noe Venable. MacDonald has released five solo marimba recordings on a variety of labels.