Curtis McKonly is comfortable working in many areas of music having been asked to compose and orchestrate in various styles from pop to film to symphonic to jazz to theatre, and having written for different mediums from theatrical film and TV, to pop recordings, concert stage and live theatre. He has been asked many times by people wanting to know his musical tastes, 'what kind of music do you like the most, and what kind do you like to write?' Without a beat his response has consistently been, 'good music.' It is with this attitude and passion that Curtis continually strives for his best and moving musical palette.
Curtis started in music at a very young age of four and a half years studying the piano, not even able to reach the pedals because of his short legs. The teacher almost did not accept him as a student because of his age. But, fortunately the teacher did accept this challenge and Curtis did grow, was eventually able to reach the pedals and continued to study. In addition to playing piano, he studied percussion in school and also became a vocalist. He pursued a formal musical education at the University of Miami as well as the Eastman School of music, and continued to study privately with composer Ludmila Ulehla and arranger Don Sebesky.
McKonly has proven his versatility as a composer with numerous TV credits including themes for WCBS News, Sunday Edition, NYC Marathon, A&E: The Stage, in addition to the long running news exposé theme, Shame on You for WCBS. He has composed underscores for national commercials, theatrical trailers and promotional spots for other networks including NBC, WPIX, WCVB and SHOWTIME.
His arranging credits include a gold CD with Vanessa Williams, arrangements for Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Four Tops and Temptations, and James Brown, and also orchestrations for the Chicago Symphony, Boston Pops, feature films and TV.
In addition to his work as a composer and orchestrator, Curtis has played piano and keyboards for numerous Broadway shows, and has played for singers Leslie Uggams and Diahann Carroll for which he also arranged. His duties as a musical director and accompanist have required his skills as a conductor, having conducted major symphonies and theatre shows.
Curtis has recently moved to Los Angeles, having lived in New York City for over 25 years prior to his move. The two coasts are different, but there is a similarity. Curtis still is asked the question, 'what kind of music do you like the most, and what kind do you like to write?' 'Good music.' His answer will never change.
Wishing You A Happy New Year TV (themes):
WCBS News - New York
TV (commercials & promos):
Oreos, Pediacare, Pollident, Get High, Get Stupid, Get Aids - Anti-drug campaign commissioned by the Ad Council; WCBS, NBC News, WPIX, KPIX, VH-1, WCIX, A&E, WCVB, SHOWTIME
Freedom to Hate - PBS
CDs & Records:
The First Noel Star Bright Vanessa Williams
Boston Pops - Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride,
Now That You're Home, It's Christmas; Home For The Holidays - Chicago Symphony & Chorus (2014); Boston Pops (2005 - 2014);Three European Carols - Dallas Symphony & Chorus (2013); Beach Boys - National Symphony Orchestra (2011); Pie Jesu - Panama City POPS Orchestra (2011); Swing Big Band 40's and 50's (2011); The Song In Our Hearts - Chicago Symphony & Chorus (2003); Metropolis Symphony & Chorus (2005); Great TV Themes for Warner Bros. Publications; Jingle Bells for String Quartet/Flute (published by Curtis McKonly Music); Other commissioned works.
Almost Like Being In Love Lerner & Loewe Songbook w/Diahann Carroll
Conductor/Pianist for Leslie Uggams - Indianapolis Symphony, Boca Raton Pops
Keyboardist for Broadway shows and other stage performances: Lion King, Wicked, Les Misérables, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Beauty & the Beast, Cats, Mamma Mia, Titanic, The Life, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Goodbye Girl, Starlight Express, A Helluva Town (Rainbow & Stars), The Boswell Sisters (Rainbow & Stars), and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem.