Payton biography

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Payton MacDonald is a musician and filmmaker and ultra-distance mountain biker and hiker. He explores the frontiers of art in a variety of settings, from Carnegie Hall to remote wilderness locations. He spent his early years drumming along with jazz records, while exploring the Rocky Mountains near his home in Idaho by foot, bicycle, and skis. Eventually he was shaped into a percussionist who plays marimbas, snare drums, bicycles, plants, pots and pans, and anything else that might produce an interesting tone. Along the way Payton discovered Indian classical music, and after 20 years of studying that ancient music he now sings it in concert halls, yoga centers, and ashrams.

He looks for ways to connect his diverse interests, and filmmaking has been particularly effective for that. His first film Sonic Divide shows Payton pedaling his mountain bike 2,500 miles along the Continental Divide, while performing 30 new pieces of music. His second film documents the rise of the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble.

Payton studied music formally at the University of Michigan (BFA) and Eastman School of Music (MM and DMA), as well as with the legendary Gundecha Brothers (Dhrupad vocal) and Pandit Sharda Sahai (tabla). He was a founding member of Alarm Will Sound, now co-directs the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, teaches music at William Paterson University, and tours nationally and internationally as a solo percussionist, singer, and speaker. For more information about Payton visit his WEBSITE.