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Ian McKinley (1929-2020) : Associate Artist


Photo of Ian McKinley

Ian McKinley (b. 21 August 1929 at Mackay, Qld) was, until his retirement in 1987, a Music Lecturer at Mt Gravatt CAE (now part of Griffith University). He had degrees in Arts and Science from the University of Queensland, with further studies in composition, organ, choral training, singing, solf├Ęge and Kodaly music education in England and in the United States.

He was a foundation member and later National Secretary and Treasurer of the Australian Society for Music Education. He was, for many years, an AMEB examiner and member of the Queensland Primary Music Curriculum Committee. He was also President of the Queensland Music Teachers' Association for a term.

He conducted several choral groups, including the Mackay and Brisbane Choral Societies, and a TV vocal group for the ABC called the 'Orana Singers'. His long-running directorship of the Queensland Bach Choir resulted in the Bach Society honouring him with Life Membership. For seven years prior to a heart attack in 1993, he was Director of Music at Christ Church St Lucia

After this he continued playing the organ, but his chief interest was now choral composition. He sang with, and retained a keen interest in, Canticum Chamber Choir, and was their Honorary Life Member. His many compositions and arrangements for the group include a setting of Paul Sherman's Triptych of Austral Time.

Other commissions included The Secret City, settings of six poems by Australian authors for two choirs and organ, and a Mass setting based on Richard Connolly's hymn tune Araluen. In 2002, his choral work The Spirit's Gift was published in the United Kingdom by the Royal School of Church Music, and performed in Westminster Cathedral, London, by massed RSCM choirs.

In June 2007, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia 'for service to music as an educator, singer, organist and composer'.

McKinley composed music particularly for amateurs (in the best sense of that word) in the choral field, although he also wrote for strings and winds.

His style of composition could best be described as 'eclectic': upon 20th-century choral styles, he superimposed quite modern techniques, but always with an emphasis on practicality.

Ian McKinley passed away peacefully on Saturday 9 May 2020 after a long illness.


Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Before the morning star : motet for mixed choir (2004) Commissioned by Arthur Grimshaw.
Digital sheet music sample Pastourelle : for oboe and organ (2003) Commissioned by Margaret Powell.
Digital sheet music sample Now choose life : anthem for SATB chorus and orchestra (2003) Commissioned St. Andrew's Anglican Church, South Brisbane, for the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the building
Now choose life : anthem for SATB chorus and orchestra (2003) Commissioned by Margaret Powell for St. Andrew's Anglican Church, South Brisbane
Digital sheet music sample A Triptych of Austral time : for SATB choir (1996) Commissioned for Canticum Chamber Choir.
Heritage : treble choir with piano (1994) Commissioned for the 1994 secondary schools' choral festival ANCA Fest '94