McKinley, William Thomas

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McKinley, William Thomas

McKinley, William Thomas, American composer, pianist, and teacher; b. New Kensington, Pa., Dec. 9, 1938. He began piano lessons at 5, and began playing in local bands around age 10. At 13, he began piano studies with the jazz pianist Johnny Costa. He pursued his academic training with Lopatnikoff, Haieff, and Dorian at the Carnegie Inst. of Technology (B.F.A., 1960). After attending sessions given by Copland, Schuller, and Foss at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (summer, 1963), he completed his studies with Powell and Moss at Yale Univ. (M.M., 1968; M.F.A., 1969). He taught at the State Univ. of N.Y. at Albany (1968–69), Yale Univ. (1969), the Univ. of Chicago (1969–73), and the New England Cons, of Music in Boston (1973–92). Throughout the years, he was active as a pianist with frequent appearances in jazz settings. In 1991 he founded Master Musicians Collective recordings. Among his various honors were a BMI prize (1963), 8 NEA awards (1976–86), a Koussevitzky Music Foundation commission (1983), and a Guggenheim fellowship (1985–86). As a composer, McKinley has developed a style that he describes as “neo-tonal,” one made imaginative by his use of jazz improvisation.


orch.: Triple Concerto for Piano, Double Bass, Drums, and Orch. (1970); 3 piano concertos (1974; O’Leary, 1987; 1994); October Night (1976); 6 syms.: No. 1 (1977; Minneapolis, Jan. 3, 1979), No. 2, Of Time and Future Monuments (1978), No. 3, Romantic (N.Y., May 18, 1984), No. 4 (1985; N.Y, March 25, 1986), No. 5, Irish (Pasadena, Calif., March 18, 1989), and No. 6 (St. Lucia, Australia, Sept. 8, 1990); Cello Concerto (1977); 3 clarinet concertos: No. 1 (1977), No. 2 (Norwalk, Conn., June 2, 1990), and No. 3, The Alchemical (1994); The Mountain (Pittsburgh, Oct. 17, 1982); Boston Overture (Boston, May 6, 1986); Concerto for Flute and Strings (1986); Tenor Rhapsody for Tenor Saxophone and Orch. (1988); Huntington Horn Concerto (1989); N.Y. Overture (1989; N.Y, May 12, 1990); Jubilee Concerto for Brass Quintet and Orch. (1990); Concerto for the New World for Wind Quintet, Strings, and Percussion (1991; N.Y, Jan. 9, 1992); Chamber Concerto No. 3 (Pittsburgh, April 29, 1991); Concerto Domestica for Trumpet, Bassoon, and Orch. (1991; Richmond, Va., March 6, 1992); Concerto No. 3 for Viola and Orch. (1992; N.Y, Feb. 22, 1993); Silent Whispers for Piano and Orch. (1992); Andante and Scherzo for Piano and Orch. (1993); Fantasia Variazioni for Harpsichord and Orch. (1993); Concerto for Orchestra No. 2 (Seattle, Sept. 27, 1993); Concert Variations for Violin, Viola, and Orch. (1993; N.Y, Jan. 31, 1994); Patriotic Variations: Reading Festival Overture (1993; Reading, Pa., May 7, 1994); Lightning, overture (1993; N.Y, March 30, 1994). chamber: 9 string quartets (1959–92); Attitudes for Flute, Clarinet, and Cello (1967); Studies for String Trio (1968); Paintings I-VIII for Various Instrumental Combinations (1972–86); Tashi, quartet for Piano, Clarinet, Violin, and Cello (1977); August Symphony for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1983); Quintet Romantico (1987); Ancient Memories for Viola and Chamber Ensemble (1989); Glass Canyons for Clarinet, Percussion, and Piano (1990); Der Baum des Lebens for 2 Violins, Viola, and Cello (1993); Elegy for Flute (1993); many pieces for solo instrument. vocal:Deliverance, Amen, oratorio for Chorus, Chamber Ensemble, and Organ (Boston, Dec. 12, 1983); N.Y. Memories for Soprano and Piano (1987); When the Moon is Full for Mezzo-soprano, Baritone, and 7 Instruments (1989); Emsdettener Totentanz for Soprano, Alto, Baritone, and Chamber Ensemble (1991); Westfälischer Pan for Mezzo-soprano, Clarinet, and Piano (1991; also for Mezzo-soprano and 6 Instruments, 1992); Jenseits der Mauer for Baritone, Trumpet, and Organ (1992); 3 Poems of Pablo Neruda for Soprano and Orch. (1992).


J. Sposato, W. T. M.: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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McKinley, William Thomas

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