Bill McGlaughlin

William McGlaughlin’s introduction to music came late; he was fourteen before he took
his first piano lessons. “Happily, I understood immediately what a wonderful thing I’d stumbled
into. I can remember thinking as I walked away from my second piano lesson – ‘Well, that’s it.
I’ll be a musician.’ Of course, I had no idea what that decision meant exactly.”
Over the years, McGlaughlin was to discover that ‘being a musician’ could embrace a
great many paths. He has served as an educator, a performer, a trombonist with the Philadelphia
Orchestra and Pittsburgh symphony, and as a conductor – seven years as Associate Conductor
with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, followed by periods as Music Director of orchestras in
Eugene, OR, Tucson, AZ, and San Francisco, CA, and most recently, a twelve year engagement
as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony. He has also been active as a guest conductor,
leading the Baltimore Symphony, Denver Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles
Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, New Orleans Symphony,
Oregon Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Opera
Theatre St. Louis, American Music Theater Festival and San Antonio Festival.
Bill McGlaughlin has also been active in broadcasting, serving as host of the popular
public radio program St. Paul Sunday since its inception in 1980. In 1996 the program received
the highest honor in broadcasting, the George Foster Peabody Award. McGlaughlin has also
been active with PBS, the BBC and is now in his ninth season as co-host of the chamber music
program Center Stage From Wolftrap.
It was not until 1997 that McGlaughlin made a public debut in the role that he considers
his most challenging – that of composer. His Three Dreams and a Question: Choral Songs on
E.E. Cummings – a work dedicated to the memory of the young composer and pianist Kevin
Oldham – was enthusiastically received by audiences, performers and press at its premiere with
the Kansas City Symphony, and was quickly followed by five more premieres within a ten
month span. Aaron’s Horizons, a work dedicated to the spirit of Aaron Copland, (with whom
McGlaughlin worked in the 1970s), and has been heard nation wide in a broadcast with members
of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
In the summer of 1998, Bill McGlaughlin signed a contract with Subito Music, which
now publishes all of his work. His recent works include Walt Whitman’s Dream, for large
chorus and orchestra, a work commissioned by Continental Harmony, a Millennium project
sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Composers Forum. He has
also composed a piece in collaboration with Garrison Keillor, Surveying Lake Wobegon, which
has its premiere at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago on September 3, 2000, and has since been
played by orchestras from coast to coast. In addition, he contributed a piece for a ‘quartet of
neglected instruments’ for the December 23, 2000 Prairie Home Companion broadcast from
Town Hall in New York. He composed a work in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the
Minneapolis Civic Orchestra, which was premiered on March 17, 2002. Three Pieces for Wind
Trio was given its first performance at the Kemper Museum in Kansas City on June 1, 2002