Robert McBride (composer)

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Robert McBride (February 20, 1911 – July 1, 2007) was an American composer and instrumentalist.


McBride was born in Tucson, Arizona, and learned from an early age to play clarinet, oboe, saxophone and the piano. He studied composition with Otto Luening at the University of Arizona, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in 1933, and a Master of Music in 1935 (Gilbert 2001). From 1935 until 1946 he taught at Bennington College, where he met and married his wife, Carol. He then moved to New York City, where he worked briefly as a commercial composer and arranger, at first for Triumph Films, producing scores for Farewell to Yesterday (1950), The Man with My Face (1951), Garden of Eden (1954), and a number of short subjects. As television began to supplant short subjects at the movies, in 1957 he joined the faculty of his alma mater, the University of Arizona, where he taught until 1976 (Gilbert 2001; Reel 2007).

By the mid-1990s he had developed an ear disorder that caused him to hear pitches a half-step off, and so he was unable to listen to music at all (Reel 2007).


His music, often with catchy titles, ranged from the serious to the whimsical: ballets, jazz pieces, instrumental solos, chamber pieces, and orchestral works.



  • Gilbert, Steven E. 2001. "McBride, Robert (Guyn)". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and JohnTyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Reel, James. 2007. "Robert McBride" (obituary). Arizona Public Media blogs (July 16).