Composer Vanessa McClintock

Vanessa McClintock is an American (U.S.A.) composer from northern California. She spent her youth in the small railroad town of Dunsmuir, her last three years of high school in Red Bluff (a "cowboy" town), and then moved to the greater Sacramento area in 1964. From then through 1983 she worked as at a number of jobs, but mostly for the Southern Pacific Railroad in various positions. During that time, she put herself through college, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education with a minor in Recreation Administration. Near the end of that experience, she decided to pursue her dream to study music, and ended up earning a second minor degree (in music) for her first graduation in 1972.

Though a college graduate, she continued with the railroad for just over a decade, all the while composing music mostly for herself, with few performances. Somewhere in the mix she worked as a classical music host, reporter, and announcer; these were short lived but fruitful associations. After having composed the score for an internationally acclaimed documentary in 1983, she made a life-changing decision to resign from the railroad and pursue music full-time; she immediately fell into the lower middle financial class.

Two years later she returned to college and converted her music minor into a Bachelor of Music degree in “Theory/Composition,” while simultaneously working on her Master of Arts (also in “Theory/Composition”), graduating in 1986. Her thesis is a work based upon her experiences and recollections on and around the railroad, titled Railroad Suite. It is scored for symphonic wind ensemble and was premiered inside the famous California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California.

The next stage in her meandering and unpredictable career evolved into founding, directing, and conducting a professional chamber orchestra for two years, which led to commissions to compose works for chamber orchestra, full orchestra, full jazz band orchestra, and symphonic wind ensembles. As things go, she next conducted community and college orchestras, but somehow ended up as a website designer and creator, and teaching Computer Information Science in local community colleges.

By 2004 she had retired from teaching and pursued a part of her family legacy: photography.

Throughout all of this time, she continued to compose works for a variety of ensembles, from solo piano, duos, trios, quartets, quintets, and vocal and choral works, accumulating some degree of notoriety along the way. She composed even when there was no promise and little to no hope of the works ever to be performed. She composed because she had to create, and this was one of the milieus she found for that outlet.

Currently, her primary focus in life is to convert her older hand-written scores into digital format using music notation software. In the process she has expanded and enhanced most of the works. She has experienced a resurgence in composing, as well, and has created several works for sundry chamber ensembles. These works are becoming available online at mcmusic.com as they are converted for the digital world for free downloads in printable PDFs and can be heard and downloaded via the MP3 audio format and with some in MP4 video format.

Composing has never been an easy process for her; it always has been a struggle. She was raised with very little music in her home and was not born with natural gifts that make most musicians and composers what they are or have been. She was gifted, however, with the tenacity to never give up, to never relent permanently, and with the passion and desire to express and to create.

She has a voice that deserves to be heard.