Jason T. McKinney (b. 1979, Springfield, LA) is a composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist who grew up in South Louisiana and now lives in Northern Michigan (Leelanau County).
Jason is currently working on Sanctuary Sketches: an extensive, multi-faceted collaborative project aiming to capture Northern Michigan’s beautiful and complex landscapes in words, visual art, and music. The first two orchestral works within the project (Platte Plains and Ransom Lake), premiered July 2022 with the Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Thomas Riccobono.
As creative director of Manitou Winds, he has guided the ensemble in the production of two albums featuring many of his own originals and arrangements in various chamber ensemble configurations: First Flight (2019) and A Celtic Summertide (2020).
In addition to performing as part of Manitou Winds, Jason actively seeks collaborative and performance opportunities with local amateur and professional ensembles in Northern Michigan performing on oboe, English horn, soprano saxophone, lever harp, and piano.
He began performing and composing as a curious child, immediately fascinated by the use of music to tell stories and convey emotion. “I quickly learned that nature is a big inspiration for me,” he recalls. “When I’m out for a long walk or a hike in the woods, musical ideas often come like whispers to me – I try to write down what strikes me most.” As an arranger, his inspiration is often traditional folk music from the Celtic nations and sacred hymn tunes.
Jason earned his bachelor of Oboe Performance from Southeastern Louisiana University where he continued studies in music theory and orchestration.
His originals and arrangements have been featured on Interlochen Public Radio’s In Studio A broadcasts and on WCMU Public Radio.