One of the most highly regarded and well-known composers of his generation, William Thomas McKinley (b. 1938) learned both classical and jazz piano at a very early age, becoming the youngest member of the American Federation of Musicians at the age of twelve. To date, he has composed over 300 works, is listed in Groves’ Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and has received commissions from the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Fromm Foundation, and the Naumburg Foundation. His many awards and grants include, among others, an award and citation from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, eight NEA grants, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. McKinley has studied with many renowned teachers and composers, including Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss, and Gunther Schuller, and as a jazz pianist has performed, composed, and recorded with Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Eddie Gomez, Gary Burton, Miroslav Vitous, Rufus Reed, Roy Haynes, and Billy Hart, to name a few.
In 1992, McKinley founded MMC Recordings with the goal of connecting composers with the finest orchestras, conductors, and performers in the world, releasing their recordings, and creating an archive of modern classical music. The label’s primary collaborators include luminaries such as clarinetist Richard Stoltzman (a long-time friend and supporter of McKinley and his music), conductors Gerard Schwarz, Gil Rose, George Manahan, Kirk Trevor, Vit Micka, as well as the London Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic, and many more.
In recent years, McKinley has become even more prolific, and his works are featured on releases from Koch, Delos, and RCA Red Seal in addition to those on MMC. World premieres of his 7th Symphony with the Seattle Symphony and R.A.P. (Rhythm and Pulse), a double concerto for Richard Stoltzman (clarinet) and his son Peter (piano), with the Boston Modern Orchestra, and the Nonet for the Quintet of the Americas at Carnegie Hall are all scheduled for 2006.