Kevin McCarter writes music for chamber ensembles, orchestra, chorus, solo instruments, and voice. His music has been performed in a variety of venues in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.


Opening Ideas, premiered by the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, has been his most performed orchestral piece. Its recording by the Kiev Philharmonic has been played by radio stations from Maine to San Francisco. Prelude and Excursion, for orchestral brass, was recorded by the Czech Philharmonic and has also been heard on the radio.

Blossoms and a Breeze, written for the Ocean Wind Trio, has been performed by several woodwind trios in the U.S. and Canada. Miniature Trio for Viola, Piano, and the Space Between the Notes received its first performance on a program of miniatures in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The recording of this performance attracted the interest of In Mid-Air Productions, which presented it a few months later on a program of songs, chamber music, and performed poetry in Rockaway, New Jersey. Above the Clouds, for violin and piano, appears on "Perceptions: Points of View for Small Ensemble," a CD from Navona Records.

Three Songs on Poems of Emily Dickinson received an Encore grant, leading to performances in Paris, Vienna, Rome, and cities in the American midwest. Other sopranos have sung the songs on recitals in New York and Virginia.

The Manhattan Choral Ensemble commissioned an a cappella work, As the Earth Brings Forth Her Bud, for a spring program. Winter Trees and Magnify the Lord With Me were sung at a Gregg Smith Singers' new music workshop.

The New York Composers Circle presented the first performances of Stars Above and Earth Below for mezzo-soprano, flute, and viola, and Songs of Day and Evening for mezzo-soprano and piano.  Uphill, and Then, for two dancers and piano, was created in collaboration with a choreographer for a Periapsis Music and Dance residency.  Recent premieres include performances of Pastorale by the American Modern Ensemble and Come Along by the Euclid String Quartet.

McCarter studied composition, piano, and organ at Principia College.  His graduate work included degrees in accompanying and composition, culminating in a doctorate from the University of Maryland.

Describe your music

My music is rooted in an appreciation of beauty in nature, in art and music, and in our lives.  It is informed by my experience as a collaborative pianist and organist playing the classical repertoire as well as by my exploration of contemporary composition techniques.

Recent compositions:

All Along for orchestra
City Park, Afternoon for baritone, clarinet, and cello
Come Along for string quartet
From Far and Near for flute, violin, viola, and cello
From This Point for viola and harp
In Open Air for flute and piano
Of Stream and Meadow for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon
Pastorale for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano
Reconsidered for clarinet and cello
Ricercare for clarinet, bass clarinet, and piano
Responding Variations for oboe and viola
Sketches from Nature for solo oboe
Song and Response for solo flauto d'amore
Songs of Day and Evening for mezzo-soprano or soprano and piano
Stars Above and Earth Below for mezzo-soprano, flute, and viola
Tacking for solo cello
Uphill, Gently for chamber orchestra

Interested in collaborating with

Librettists, poets, playwrights, choreographers, visual artists, individual musicians, and ensembles.

Additional info


"Kevin McCarter’s Above the Clouds is also aptly titled.... This very restful little piece features a lovely midrange long line violin melody that floats, as might clouds, above a fairly static and lovely piano line.... McCarter has apparently written extensively for chorus as well and the singer approach to composition seems evident." —Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition

"Opening Ideas is a nice piece for String Orchestra. It begins slowly, relying mainly on harmonic movement and melodic motives. Then, about a quarter of the way through, it gains momentum and intricacy as it pours the idea into an exquisite whole. Then it returns to the semblance of ethereal slowness, as the idea seems to fade into an unfinished cadence at the end." --John Nugent, Oregon Literary Review