Randall Shinn composes operas and concert music. Reviewers have described his works as “passionate,” “lyrical,” and “spellbinding.” Other reviewers have called his works “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.”

Shinn’s works explore a broad expressive range, from comic to tragic. He has stated that his primary goals as a creative artist are to engage and entertain. He often pursues expressive eloquence by creatively melding influences from art and vernacular music.

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

Librettos and other writings

Shinn has written original librettos for four operas and received grant support from the NEA as both a librettist and a composer.

His interest in the theater links to a general interest in 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 reflect his aesthetic interests.