Join the Cliburn for a wonderful performance from 2013 Cliburn Competitor Alex McDonald and violist Rachel Li McDonald at Benbrook Public Library.


Music has always been the food of motion and emotion, of life and love. In Dances and Romances, join violist/pianist duo Rachel and Alex McDonald as they explore works from Stravinsky’s vibrant Suite Italienne, Liszt’s dramatic Rigoletto transcription, and Elgar’s Salut d’Amour.

ELGAR Salut d’amour
KREISLER Liebeslied
LISZT Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
LISZT Rigoletto Concert Paraphrase


Since her PBS-broadcasted debut chamber performance at Carnegie Hall through From the Top Live from Carnegie, violist Rachel Li McDonald has continued to be an active performer and teacher in both solo, chamber, and orchestra settings throughout North America. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied under Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory, and a Master of Music degree from Rice University, where she studied under James Dunham. Rachel previously studied with Diana Ray Goodman, John Hayhurst, and Formosa Quartet violist, Che-Yen Chen. She has performed in masterclasses with a number of prominent violists and chamber ensembles. Rachel currently resides in Plano, Texas with her husband, Alex, and son, Micah.


Since his orchestral debut at age 11, pianist Alex McDonald has performed extensively across North America and Asia, both in recital and with orchestra. A participant at the 2013 Cliburn Competition, he has won several competition prizes and fellowships throughout the United States. Alex has taught at Texas Woman’s University, Richland College, and The Juilliard School, and his private students have gone on to study at top conservatories and perform at Carnegie Hall. He was recognized for his accomplishments as an educator with the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award in teaching by the Texas Music Teachers Association.  He is also festival director for Basically Beethoven, a thriving summer concert series in Dallas, and has been a regular featured performer for the Cliburn’s education initiatives, Cliburn in the Classroom and Cliburn Kids, for the past 5 years.