Jason McKinney

Originally from Milwaukee WI, USA, Mr. McKinney graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied voice with soprano Marilyn Taylor and tenor Glenn Siebert, conducting with Maestro James Allbritten,composing with Kenneth Frazelle, and clarinet with Robert Listokin. Whilst in school Mr. McKinney was the recipient of the Helen Odom scholarship, the Music Dean’s Talent scholarship, and the Chancellor’s Grant for Excellence. Jason was the winner of the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee’s Harold Levin scholarship competition and was awarded the Judges Choice award at the Metropolitan Opera’s district competition. Jason won that competition in the South Carolina District and continued on to place second in the Southeastern Regional Finals. Jason has had the opportunity to premier new works by Kenneth Frazelle, Shelley Olson, Daniel Sonnenberg, Chandler Carter and Lawrence Dillon. Jason has gone on to perform at such prestigious venues as The Kennedy Center, The White House, The Semper Opera House in Dresden Germany, The Hamburgische Staatsoper, The Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, Germany, Opera Kommische in Berlin Germany, Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily, and The Theatre Carre in Amsterdam Netherlands.

As a young person Jason was educated in Judaica at the Hillel Academy in Fox Point, WI. There he was first introduced to Jewish music, and that exposure influenced his love of music spurring him to learn a musical instrument. As a member of a Boy Scout explorer post Jason learned to play the Albert System clarinet in the New Orleans style and eventually was invited to play with the prestigious Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the French quarter.

On the stage Mr. McKinney has performed with numerous opera companies in the US and in Europe. Some of his favorite roles are the title roles in Don Giovanni, and Le Nozze di Figaro and in the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Other roles include Colline in La Boheme, Olin Blitch in Sussanah, Dr Grenville in La Traviata, and Ashby in Fanciulla del West. Mr. McKinney is well known as a quick study and has been called upon to be a last minute replacement on many occasions, sometimes being required to perform with as little as eight hours notice a role he did not know before.

As a concert soloist Mr. McKinney has been featured with the North Carolina Symphony, the Eugene Symphony and has performed to critical acclaim in Europe, Mexico the U.S. Israel and Australia. Mr. McKinney has over 15 years as cantorial soloist in Spartanburg, SC, Easton MD, and currently at Temple Emanuel Winston-Salem NC. He is also a frequent guest Soloist with several synagogues worldwide. Mr. McKinney composes Jewish liturgical music which he shares with Jewish communities throughout the US. Mr McKinney is former resident artist and section leader at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston Salem NC. As an Actor Mr. McKinney has sung and portrayed “Paul Robeson” by Phillip Hayes Dean, Mckinney’s own original recital “Moments with Paul” , and studied the opera Paul Robeson by Adolphus Hailstork. Other historical figures that he has portrayed include Malcolm X, John P. Parker and an original work titled “Frederick-a Musical Narrative” commissioned by the Brookletts place senior center, Easton, MD, and the Frederick Douglass Honor Society.