Robinson McClellan (b.1976) is a composer, scholar, teacher, and concert presenter. His music has been commissioned and/or played by the Albany, Ft. Worth, and Knox-Galesburg Symphonies, the Museum of Biblical Art (NYC), Nektarios Antoniou’s Greek Byzantine chorus, Yale Schola Cantorum, the Hudson Opera House, Moira Smiley and VOCO, Trio Eos, and many others. He has received residencies and awards from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, and Vassar College. His choral music is published in Music by Heart, an Episcopal hymnal, and Feniarco’s Choraliter, an Italian choral anthology.
As a composer and scholar McClellan has spent the past several years immersed in piobaireachd (“peeb-rock”), a rarely heard bagpiping tradition rooted in 17th-century Gaelic Scotland. His compositions often borrow musical ideas from piobaireachd, and his research into its unique rhythmic idiom was published in a recent scholarly anthology in Ashgate’s Popular and Folk Music Series and has also been cited in the scholarly journal Ethnomusicology. He has written on pipe music as a reviewer for The Voice and has played the Highland bagpipe since 2004.
He is founder and director of El Salto, a unique forum for contemporary music heard in a context of broad-minded religious/humanist inquiry. The project is now hosted by the New York Society for Ethical Culture. His article about El Salto appeared in the journal Liturgy in 2008. He has also been Composer in Residence for ActorCor, a NYC-based choir dedicated to bridging religious divides. As part of this he co-judges a composing competition for interfaith choral music.
He earned his doctorate in composition (DMA) at the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He previously studied music at Vassar College, and his teachers have been Ingram Marshall, Ezra Laderman, Annea Lockwood, Richard Wilson, Martin Bresnick, and Aaron Jay Kernis.
McClellan is on the music faculty at St. Francis College, Rutgers University, and the Lucy Moses School; between them he teaches music history, world music, composition, and theory. He is also the Music Librarian at the Kaufman Center and worked on the team that created the Morgan Library’s Music Manuscripts Online. He has worked for the S.E.M. Ensemble, G. Schirmer/AMP, and has sung in a variety of professional choral ensembles. He has been a music copier, worked for several major publishers, and created the music examples for two scholarly books.