Elliott Miles McKinley
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Life and work
Elliott Miles McKinley’s music has been performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Commissions include those from the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the SOLI Chamber Music Ensemble, the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Music Society, the Duquesne University Contemporary Ensemble, and the Martinu String Quartet. His works have also been featured on several international festivals, including the Mid-American Center for Music Festival at Bowling Green State University, the Olomouc Spring Festival in the Czech Republic, and the Alba Music Festival in Italy. McKinley has been the recipient of a BMI Student Composer Award, an ASCAP composition award, a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and several grants from Meet the Composer.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, he received a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz studies and composition from New England Conservatory of Music a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. His teachers include John McNeil in jazz performance studies, and composers Thomas Oboe Lee, Malcolm Peyton, George Wilson, Alex Lubet, Douglas Geers, David Gompper, Noel Zahler, Michael Daugherty, and William Bolcom.
His music has been described as inspired by jazz and yet "thoroughly self-assured as he twists and bends the orchestral idiom into exciting new shapes." A review of his string quartets recorded on the MMC label states that "...the strength of McKinley's music lies in his lively rhythms and elastic melodies, and these impressive works show a composer mastering his medium with consummate craft and a fertile, almost improvisational, imagination." In general, his music is marked by an economy of expression that may be founded on the works by Anton Webern and other miniaturists, though McKinley's musical grammar is not dependent on the dodecaphonic idiom.
- String Quartet No. 5 (2005)
- Chamber Sinfonietta (In the Darkness of Winter) (2005) for chamber orchestra
- String Quartet No. 4(2001)
- String Quartet No. 3 (2000)
- Pictures of Prague (1996) for eleven instruments
- Symphony for Four Players (1996) for clarinet, violin, violoncello, and piano
- April - a meditation for orchestra (1994)
- Summer Portraits (1993) a concerto for percussion and chamber ensemble
- Blair Sanderson, Elliott Miles McKinley: String Quartets. Allmusic (CD review). Accessed July 7, 2011.