Retired in 2010, Carleton Macy taught theory and composition at Macalester beginning in 1978. He also directed the Collegium Musicum Macalestri, a chamber ensemble specializing in medieval, renaissance, and baroque music. He established the MacJazz big band in 1979 and directed the ensemble until 2005.
Macy’s composition catalog includes more than 120 works for orchestra, band, chamber ensembles, vocalists, traditional Chinese instruments, and jazz ensembles. His music can be heard on CDs produced on the INNOVA label (American Composers Forum), on DAPHENO (a French company specializing in saxophone music), and other CDs produced by various professional ensembles in the United States and Europe. Among his most popular works are woodwind quintets and saxophone quartets. He has twice won the commission award at the National Symposia for New Woodwind Quintet Music held at the University of Georgia. His saxophone works have been performed throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, and are featured on 4 different CDs.
Macy’s active interest in Non-Western music has led him to become a performer, conductor and composer with the Minnesota Chinese Music Ensemble, which specializes in the performance of traditional and contemporary music written for Chinese traditional instruments. His compositions for Chinese instruments make use of traditional styles and techniques, blending them with traditional western styles. When not conducting the ensemble Macy plays the sheng, a 36-note mouth organ. In addition to his interest in Chinese music Macy plays tenor drum in the Macalester Pipe Band and owns his own Javanese Gamelan.