Randall Shinn composes operas and concert music. He writes opera librettos, essays, and blog posts. His focus is creating entertaining, engaging experiences.
Shinn’s mature works merge materials from a broad range of vernacular and cultivated traditions. Reviewers have called his works “passionate”, “lyrical”, and “spellbinding.” Other reviewers have described his works as “powerfully expressive” and “lusciously beautiful.” One reviewer wrote that Shinn integrates “modern music and language with more familiar classical styles to create a sound that is uniquely his own.”
One writer noted that this aspect of Shinn’s music reflects his wide musical interests.
Shinn’s interests as a music listener are broad—he might dance to a blues band one night and attend an opera production the next. So he finds it natural to write music with unexpected combinations of material. The influences on his music are just as broad, and his manner of dealing with these multiple influences has become a distinctive musical fingerprint.—Peter Laki, program notes for the Phoenix Symphony
Shinn has written original librettos for three operas and collaborated on a fourth. He has received grant support from the NEA as both a librettist and a composer.
His interest in the theater is tied to a general interest in imagination and magical atmosphere. For two years he was chief correspondent for Virginia Postrel’s group blog DeepGlamour, where he wrote posts about various aspects of glamour (including its older meaning of enchantment and magic). His Musings on this site outline some of his aesthetic interests. More information about performances of his works is available in his bio.