Elise MacDonald

Elise MacDonald’s life in music has taken on many forms. Her first and perhaps most formative music education came from learning pop tunes of the 1920s-1940s by ear while sitting alongside her grandmother, who’d worked as a silent moviehouse pianist in New York City. Later, she embarked on classical flute study and received a jazz-centric bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
In the late 1990s, Elise moved from Massachusetts to Peterborough, NH to open Two Rivers Music Studios, a community music school which became home to half a dozen teachers and up to 150 students. A multi-instrumentalist equally at home with piano, vocals, flute, and electric bass, she taught jazz ensemble, chamber music ensembles, chorus, music theory, and music history at Wilton’s High Mowing School for 15 years; across the street at Pine Hill School, she directed the middle school concert band. She also prepared many high school vocalists and instrumentalists for successful auditions for NH All State and NH Jazz All State festivals as well as college/conservatory auditions.
More recently, Elise booked musical artists and ran the online presence for Studio 99, a critically-acclaimed live music venue in Nashua. She returned to Berklee to assist undergrads in refining their web presence and promotion, learning the inner workings of one of the most competitive job markets on the planet, and finding their first post-degree jobs. For over a decade, she’s accompanied singers on their favorite tunes — unrehearsed, in their best key — with her frequent Piano Karaoke events.
Throughout, Elise has accompanied singers at special events; taught flute, piano, and music theory to private students ranging from elementary school students through retirees; and performed as a flutist in contemporary musical theatre, opera, and symphonic settings.
After the privilege of serving as a guest musician several times over the past few years, she is thrilled to take on the position of UUCM Music Director.
She can be reached at music@uucm.org.