Frank McCarty was born in California in 1941. He received degrees in music composition from San Diego State (A.B., 1964), the University of Southern California (M.M., 1966), and the University of California at San Diego (Ph.D., 1975). He studied with Howard Brubeck, David Ward-Steinman, Ingolf Dahl, David Raksin, George Perle, Robert Erickson, and Pauline Oliveros. McCarty won several national competitions in composition including BMI.
A woodwind and percussion performer, McCarty worked extensively in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. He was a member of the percussion section of the San Diego Symphony (1961-71), and Timpanist with the Pacific Symphony (1969-71). Additionally, he conducted musical theatre and church choirs. He also performed with BIOME, a mixed-media, live-electronic music ensemble that toured in the United States and Europe between 1970 and 1974.
As a music professor, McCarty taught for almost 40 years: Cal-State Fullerton (1966-71), the University of Pittsburgh (1971-76), and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, (1976-2004). He was one of twelve American delegates to the 1974 International Conference on New Musical Notation (Ghent, Belgium), and supervised the areas of electronics and percussion: [Stone, Kurt. Music Notation in the Twentieth Century. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1980]. He was an editorial consultant for Prentice-Hall, Wm. C. Brown, and Random House, and provided consultation for CBS Musical Instruments (Buchla synthesizer) and MicroTechnology (digital sound). McCarty also served as a panelist and chair for the National Endowment for the Arts.
McCarty is the author of more than ten published articles ranging in content from percussion and woodwind notation and advanced performance techniques to new-music theatre. As byproducts of his Ph.D. research, he produced the first scholarly study of synthesizers: ["Electronic Music Systems: Structure, Control, Product." Perspectives of New Music, xiii (1975)], and an article outside of music: ["Entropy as Value-Theory in the Arts.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, xxxii (Winter, 1973)]. Of his papers read at regional and national conferences, one was the first on its subject: ["Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD: How the Gesamptkunst
Works", College Music Society, Mid-Atlantic Chapter, Catholic University, Washington DC, 3/20/82]. He is founding editor of the American Music Resource
, an on-line collection of over 700 bibliographies and lists, as well as hundreds of links, for over 70 composers and 50 topics. It has been on the Internet since January, 1994: www.amrhome.net
. He is also the author of Pure Counterpoint
(2014), a book with an anthology of music for the study of modal counterpoint: www.purecounterpoint.com
Frank McCarty is a three-time recipient of the North Carolina Artist Fellowship in composition (1983, 1989, 1994), an honor not held by any other creative artist in the state. He has also received grants for composition and acoustical research from the North Carolina and Pennsylvania Arts Councils, the Universities of North Carolina and Pittsburgh, Meet The Composer and the NEA. He has composed in virtually all media, in a broad range of styles, and has collaborated in many productions for dance, film, radio, television and theatre. McCarty's works have been commissioned and performed by such diverse organizations as The American Dance Festival, The Eastern Music Festival, The National Orchestra of France, The National Wind Ensemble Conference, Orquestra Sinfonica de Venezuela, The New York Composers Forum, Tokyo Associates, Public Television, NPR, the San Diego Opera and Symphony, and the Greensboro and Winston-Salem (NC) orchestras. He has produced ten CDs of his compositions, is a member of BMI, and his website is www.frankmccarty.com