As a chamber musician, he has performed with the Juilliard, American, Takács, Muir, Brentano, St. Lawrence, Vermeer, Borromeo, Shanghai, and Orion string quartets, and has given concerts for the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Chicago Chamber Musicians and NHK and BBC television worldwide. His discography includes recordings for Sony Classical, Vox, Bridge, Musical Heritage Society, ASV and CRI.
McDonald is a member of the piano faculties at The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he holds the Penelope P. Watkins Chair in piano studies. In addition to being the artistic director of the Taos School of Music and Chamber Music Festival in New Mexico, he has participated in the Bergen, Lucerne and Salzburg festivals in Europe, the Four Seasons, Marlboro and Brevard festivals in the United States, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, as well as at the Banff Center in Canada and the Music Academy of the West.
McDonald is the winner of the Gold Medal at the Busoni International Competition and the Deutsche Schallplatten Critics Award. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music in 2018.