Born in Kensington PA, near Pittsburgh, William Thomas McKinley (December 9, 1938 – February 3, 2015) began playing piano at local jazz clubs when he was a boy, and, at the age of 12, undoubtedly became the youngest member of the American Federation of Musicians. He went on to perform, record, and compose for some of the great jazz artists such as Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Eddie Gomez, Gary Burton, Rufus Reed, Dave Holland, and Billy Hart, among others. On the classical side, McKinley has earned numerous awards from such institutions as the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Koussevitzky Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and eight NEA grants, along with commissions from The London Symphony, The Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Fromm Foundation, and the Naumburg Foundation. He has composed over 300 works.

He was a longtime faculty member of The New England Conservatory, and previously taught at the University of Chicago. While teaching at NorthEastern University in the early 1990s, McKinley founded the MMC (Master Musicians Collective) label – a full service recording and production company which recorded primarily the works of modern American composers.

Passacaglia follows a modern model of its titular form. It has a somber theme, followed by 10 variations, and a lively finale.


All American Bass

Release Date: September 23, 2022
Catalog Number: NV6464
21st Century
Double Bass
A champion of repertoire and lauded by the New York Times as a virtuoso, double bassist Richard Fredrickson brings his instrument to the forefront on ALL AMERICAN BASS, an album of works composed specifically for him. Joining the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kirk Trevor, Fredrickson flawlessly navigates the works by Vittorio Giannini, John Carbon, and William Thomas McKinley. From Giannini’s darkly profound and agitated Psalm 130 to Carbon’s Endangered Species, which portrays the double bass as a wild and powerful beast that gracefully reins itself in, to McKinley’s modern, somber-then-lively Passacaglia, Fredrickson’s command of tone and melody creates an unforgettable recording and serves as an encapsulation of the instrument’s potential.


Release Date: March 11, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6033
21st Century
Navona Records presents RIPPLES, a collection of contemporary works from composers Mathew Fuerst, Heath Mathews, Bill Pfaff, Sally Reid, and William Thomas McKinley, that showcase percussion alongside either a pianist, saxophonist, or chamber ensemble, exploring the textures and tonal colors possible within each instrument combination.


Release Date: September 1, 2011
Catalog Number: NV5858
21st Century
String Orchestra
DIVERGENCE is a collection of violin concerti written by three living composers. These works by Nicholas Sackman, Scott Michal, and William Thomas McKinley follow the traditional frameworks of the concerto with the individual stylings and influences of each composer worked into each piece; Sackman’s Concertino for Violin and Orchestra features delicate melodies surrounded by punchy rhythms, Michal’s Encomiums pays homage to three great masters of counterpoint, and McKinley’s Concert Variations takes a Mozart-like theme and gives it a 20th century fantasy variation treatment.

The Music of Copland & McKinley

Release Date: May 1, 2009
Catalog Number: NV5812
20th Century