Randall (Randy) Shinn composes operas and concert music. Reviewers have called his works “passionate,” “lyrical,” and “spellbinding.” Other reviewers have described his works as “powerfully expressive” and “lusciously beautiful.” One reviewer wrote that Shinn integrates “modern music and language with more familiar classical styles to create a sound that is uniquely his own.”

In his pursuit of expressive eloquence, Shinn melds influences from art music, popular music, and folk music traditions. One writer suggested this practice reflects his varied musical interests.

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, program notes for the Phoenix Symphony


As a writer, Shinn has written original librettos for four operas and received grant support from the NEA as both a librettist and a composer.

His interest in the theater links to a general interest in imagination and magical atmosphere. For two years he was chief correspondent for Virginia Postrel’s group blog DeepGlamour, where he wrote posts about various aspects of glamour (including its older meaning of enchantment and magic). His Musings on this site reflect some of his aesthetic interests.