Robinson McClellan ~ composer





Online composition lessons


Robinson McClellan is a composer, curator, teacher, and scholar. His music has been performed and commissioned widely, and his choral music is published by E.C. Schirmer, Augsburg Fortress, and See-a-Dot Publishing. He has been awarded artist residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo, and earned his doctorate in composition at the Yale School of Music / Institute of Sacred Music. He is the music curator at The Morgan Library & Museum, and also teaches music theory at Rutgers, and composition at Lucy Moses School and Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop. He founded and directs ComposerCraft, a seminar for young composers. He has worked for music and education technology companies Noteflight and Noodle Partners in product development, user care-and-feeding, and instructional design.

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Audiences have heard his music via commissions, performers and venues such as the Albany, Ft. Worth, and Knox-Galesburg Symphonies, the Museum of Biblical Art (NYC), Amsterdam’s Gaudeamus Competition, the Monteverdi Kamerkoor Utrecht, Yale Schola Cantorum, the Hudson Opera House, Macalester Concert Choir, 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 by E.C. Schirmer, See-a-Dot Music Publishing, in the hymnal Music by Heart and its 'selections from' subsequent edition Singing in Community: Paperless Music for Worship, and in the Justice Choir Songbook.

Robin earned his doctorate in composition (DMA) at the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and studied music at Vassar College. His teachers have been Ingram Marshall, Ezra Laderman, Annea Lockwood, Richard Wilson, Martin Bresnick, and Aaron Jay Kernis.

As a composer and scholar he spent several years immersed in piobaireachd, a bagpiping tradition rooted in 17th-century Gaelic Scotland. His research into its unique rhythmic style was published in a scholarly anthology from Ashgate, and has been cited in the journal Ethnomusicology.

Robin is founder and director of El Salto, a forum for contemporary music heard in a context of broad-minded religious/humanist inquiry, at Yale Divinity School and the New York Society for Ethical Culture. His article about El Salto appeared in the journal Liturgy. He served as Composer in Residence for ActorCor, a NYC-based choir dedicated to bridging religious divides.

He has sung in a variety of choral ensembles, including St. Michaels Choir NYC, Yale Schola Cantorum, C4, and New York Chamber Choirs.

Robin is a music educator with a deep interest in teaching technologies and the history and practical philosophies of music notation. For eight years he was Musician Advocate for Noteflight, the online music notation program. He co-writes and teaches online music theory courses at Rutgers University. He directs ComposerCraft, an intensive course for young composers at the Kaufman Music Center in NYC. Also at Kaufman, he is on the composition faculty at the Lucy Moses School and the Special Music School. He teaches a private composition studio and is a composer mentor for YCIW and Music-COMP. He has also taught music theory, history, and world music at Hunter, Manhattan and Wagner Colleges. More about teaching...

Robin helped create The Morgan Library's Music Manuscripts Online in 2008-2012, and started at the Morgan as curator in 2019. He worked at the Metropolitan Museum in Concerts and Lectures, and has also been Music Librarian at the Kaufman Music Center, Managing Director for the S.E.M. Ensemble, and worked on the production team at G. Schirmer/AMP.

Last but not least, he is a compulsive photographer and his photos have been published twice in magazines.

Also see:
A more personal look at what I do and why I do it



TEACHING (back to top)

I teach composition, music theory, and music history in several capacities.


ComposerCraft: a seminar-style class for advanced young composers at the Special Music School and Lucy Moses School, featuring in-depth study of scores, a roster of high-profile guest speakers, and readings and performances with professional ensembles such as Yarn|Wire and Metropolis Ensemble.

Meet the composers of ComposerCraft:

I also mentor young composers online via YCIW and have mentored for Music-COMP.

Music theory

I co-write and teach graduate and undergraduate music theory courses for Rutgers Arts Online. I have taught music theory at Lucy Moses School and Manhattan and Wagner Colleges.



My Background
— I am a frequently-commissioned professional composer, and I earned my doctorate in composition at Yale.
— I teach music composition lessons online and in person at all levels, from elementary school to adult.

All experience levels welcome! Lessons conducted in English or French.

Experience Teaching Composition & Theory
— Hunter College: College/Graduate Composition course
— Rutgers University: Online Music Theory course
— Manhattan and Wagner Colleges: Music Theory and History
— NYC's Special Music School and Lucy Moses School: Composition & Theory
— Online Composition Mentor: Music-COMP and YCIW (two wonderful programs for young composers)

How Lessons Work
— Via email, Skype/video chat, and whatever notation software you prefer.
— Or in person in New York City.
— Regular hour-long lessons, weekly or monthly
— One-time lessons
— "Flash" lessons of 15 or 30 minutes each (pro-rated, see below): I review your piece briefly and offer comments by email or chat.

— $100 per hour, $50 per 30 minutes, $25 per 15 minutes
— Time spent reviewing work charged separately

I am very versatile: I will approach your work where you are, helping you to achieve and define your creative goals. I have taught pop singers who want to write like Taylor Swift, and classical composers who want to write like Morton Feldman.

If you are unsure what notation software to use, I recommend starting with the free online program called Noteflight, which allows you to edit and share scores right in your web browser, with no software installation.

Write to:email