Donald McGinnis

From Wind Repertory Project
Donald E. McGinnis


Donald Edward McGinnis (21 October 1917, Barberton, Ohio – 28 October 2016, Hilliard, Ohio) was an American composer, clarinetist, conductor and educator.

After studying piano and clarinet in Medina County, Ohio, McGinnis enrolled at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he received bachelor's degrees in both music education and clarinet. He then served for a short period as director of bands at Oberlin (Ohio) High School.

In 1941, he began a long association with Ohio State University, initially as an instructor of woodwind students and as assistant director of bands. Simultaneously, he was principal clarinetist of the Columbus Philharmonic. His career at Ohio State was interrupted for four years while serving in the U.S. Navy, during which time he performed with an outstanding navy band and then was communications officer aboard a cargo ship in the Pacific. After discharge, he received Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the University of Iowa.

McGinnis returned to Columbus and began an eventful 27-year career as conductor of the Ohio State University Concert Band, meanwhile busying himself in several administrative capacities. Under his direction, the band achieved national prominence and was host to many of the world's renowned composers, conductors, and performing artists. Numerous compositions were dedicated to McGinnis and the band, and recordings made during this period attest to the band's excellence.

During McGinnis' tenure at Ohio State, he also performed as clarinetist and flutist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra [successor to the Columbus Philharmonic] and also with the Wheeling (West Virginia) Symphony Orchestra. With the Columbus orchestra, he was also assistant conductor. Several solo recordings of his clarinet artistry were made during this time, and a book, Etudes for the Advanced Clarinet, was co-authored with Edmund Siennicki. Among McGinnis' former students is Richard Stolzman, internationally known clarinet soloist.

McGinnis retired from Ohio State in 1979 but took on new responsibilities as conductor of the Southeastern Ohio Symphony (1979-1987), the Capital University Wind Ensemble (1979-1980), and the Columbus Youth Wind Symphony. During the summer of 1980, he was conductor of a select high school band which toured Europe. In 1989, he was Distinguished Visiting Conductor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has also continued his longstanding activities as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, and soloist.

Among McGinnis' honors are the Citation of Excellence (National Band Association), the A.A. Harding Award (American School Band Directors Association), the Medal of Honor (Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic), the Outstanding Music Director of 1978 (School Musician), and official recognition from the Ohio House of Representatives.

McGinnis was elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1956, was president in 1978, and served four terms on the board of directors. Other music organizations to which he belongs are the American Federation of Musicians, the College Band Directors National Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the Ohio Music Education Association, Phi Beta Mu (honorary life member), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (honorary lifetime member), Tau Beta Sigma (honorary member), Kappa Kappa Psi, and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Works for Winds