George Frederick McKay

The first composition graduate of Eastman School of Music (B.A. 1923), George Frederick McKay had a forty-year career as a composer-in-residence at the University of Washington, Seattle. In addition to composing, McKay also was a choral singer, violinist, conductor, and professor at the University of Washington.

Photo: George Frederick McKay, early 1940s, courtesy of Fred McKay

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An extremely prolific composer, George Frederick McKay was inspired by American themes and music when writing his compositions. His influences range from Native American music to folksongs and jazz. He taught many influential composers in America, including William Bolcom.

While art song does not make up the bulk of his compositional output, McKay did composer the following songs:

Six Robert Frost Songs Fourteen Songs to Poetry by American Poet Glenn Hughes Requiescat (Text: Oscar Wilde) The Shepherd (Text: William Blake) Five Songs for Soprano Seven Songs for Baritone Five Hymns Five Poetic Songs

In addition to these works, McKay also composed more than 100 choral works and several collections of children’s songs and humorous songs. He also published a large collection of Stephen Foster songs in the 1940s. McKay wrote his own texts to some of his works, and some of McKay’s texts were published under the pen name Arthur Pangborn, derived from his mother’s maiden name. His first cousin Clyde Pangborn is celebrated on a U.S. Stamp as the lead pilot on the first non-stop Transpacific Flight in the 1930’s from Japan to the U.S. West Coast.

Contact Address for Information about George Frederick McKay Sheet Music or Copies of Manuscripts is [email protected]. Please visit McKay’s official website (listed to the right) for more details about his life and music. For a complete listing of McKay’s vocal output, please download the PDF listed to the right.

–Christie Finn Special thanks to Fred McKay

Related Information



Abraham Lincoln Portraits

(Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Charles Ives and George Frederick McKay)


McKay: Epoch - An American Dance Symphony

(George Frederick McKay)


George McKay: Chamber Music

(George Frederick McKay)



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