- Balm (2015)
- Pied Beauty (2015)
- Four States of Mind (2014)
- Your Morning Rises as a Song (2013)
- Happy Endings, for Tenor Saxophone and Piano (2012)
- Songs of the Beloved
- Lily (a one act opera)
- Langston’s Lot (composition based on the poetry of Langston Hughes)
- Prelude and Dance
by Chris Sherrod (SHS)
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Douglas McConnell now lives in Starkville, Mississippi. He has taught in the Music Education Department at Mississippi State University for the past seven years. He is composer-in-residence and associate professor of music, teaching music theory, music history and composition.
McConnell at the age of seven fell in love with music when his family purchased an accordion from a local salesman. He took lessons and learned to play the standards for accordion: polkas, Lady of Spain, and others. At nine he was composing songs and providing his own accompaniment. To make money he played with local ensembles at weddings and bar mitzvahs. He played not just the typical accordion favorites but classical pieces by Bach and Mozart as well. Later he entered the pop music culture of the 60’s and played with several pop bands around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
McConnell went to college at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he chose to major in music. While there he began to play the piano, which today is his main instrument. He received a master of music in composition and a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition at the College-Conservatory of Music at the university of Cincinnati. He got the doctorate in 1988.
To date McConnell has composed more than thirty musical compositions, He has also won awards for his compositions and his teaching. In 1996 he got the John Grisham Award for Excellence in Teaching at Mississippi State University. For his chamber composition Songs of the Beloved he received an award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. He got the 1996-1997 Artist Fellowship Commission to compose a one act opera called Lily.
On sabbatical during the 1996-1997 school year with a Mississippi Arts Commission Artist Fellowship grant, McConnell has been composing his one act opera called Lily, will premiere on the MSU campus in the fall of 1997. He says he feels more at home composing for voice chorale, but he also composes for piano and other instruments. He sees his compositions as a complement to his teaching. McConnell bases many of his musical compositions on literary works. For example, Lily is based on a short story by Walter Wangerin, who is the writer-in-residence at Valparaison University in Indiana. The short story is a fable or parable written for children to explain life and death through drama and humor. The main characters are three sisters whose names are drawn from nature–Bean Plant, Marigold and Lily. The story is about how they deal with the change of seasons, beginning with spring. McConnell first heard the story of Lily at an Easter sunrise service in Indiana several years ago. He wrote to Wangerin, who had been a Lutheran minister when he wrote the story to help children in his congregation deal with death more than ten years ago, for permission to use the story for his opera.
Another composition by McConnell called Langston’s Lot is a song-cycle for tenor, alto saxophone, trumpet, piano and percussion. It premiered in Starkville on the campus of Mississippi State University in February, 1997, and was commissioned by the MSU music department. Douglas McConnell was also the director of the Starkville Symphony. He is married to Joan McConnell, and they have two children, Rachel and Susan.
McConnell now teaches at Heidelberg University in Ohio and is Director of the Choir at Trinity United Church of Christ in Tiffin, Ohio.
- 19 ? — Douglas McConnell born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 1960’s — Played with various local pop bands in Philadelphia
- 1972 – Graduated from Cherry Hill High School in New Jersey
- 1976 – Graduated from Wittenberg University
- 1988 —- Earned master of music and doctorate at the Conservatory of Musical Arts at the University of Cincinnati
- 1996 — Received John Grisham Award for excellence in teaching at Mississippi State University
- 1996-97- Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship grant to write Lily
- 2000 – Left Mississippi State University to work at Heidelberg University
- 2015 – Selected for Composition Fellow Residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts