Randall Shinn composes operas and concert music. Reviewers have called his music passionate, stunning, and spell-binding. One reviewer wrote that Shinn integrates “modern music and language with more familiar classical styles to create a sound that is uniquely his. ”Other writers have described his music as sensual, powerfully expressive, and lusciously beautiful.

In program notes for the Phoenix Symphony, Peter Laki wrote that:

Shinn’s interests as a music listener are broad—he might dance to a blues band one night and attend an opera production the next. So he finds it natural to write music with unexpected combinations of material. The influences on his music are just as broad, and his manner of dealing with these multiple influences has become a distinctive musical fingerprint.—Peter Laki, Phoenix Symphony program notes, 1992

Trained as a performer (M.Mus., French horn, University of Colorado), Shinn began composing music in his teens. He was self taught as a composer until entering the doctoral program at the University of Illinois, where he studied with Ben Johnston, who encouraged Shinn to continue developing distinctive ways of integrating his interests in art, folk, and popular music.

Shinn has written original librettos for three operas. His interest in the theater spills over into a general interest in imagination, illusion, and magical atmosphere. For two years he was chief correspondent for DeepGlamour.net, where he wrote posts about various aspects of glamour (including its older meaning of enchantment and magic). On this site his Musings reflect his aesthetic preferences relative to his music.