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Famous Missouri Musicians You May Not Know

Famous Missouri Musicians You May Not Know

July 21, 2021

It may be a well-kept secret that Missouri musicians have contributed to the world of music in a variety of ways—behind the scenes, on stage, and even in movies and TV. While most of them live outside the Show-Me State now, we can still proudly claim them as “ours.”

Although there are others, let’s start with two Kansas Citians who graduated from the Conservatory of Music at UMKC: Liz Finch and Vinson Cole. These may not be household names, but they are well known in music circles. Fortunately, you can find their musical contributions through MCPL’s online resources.

Liz Finch has worked as a music copyist and orchestrator for such well-known composers as John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Johnny Mandel. She has orchestrated music for everything from TV and film to jingles and live performances. You have listened to her work if you’ve ever seen Shrek, Man of Steel, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight, the 84th Academy Awards, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Outlander, Transformers, Desperate Housewives, or even The Simpsons Movie, among others. Although she graduated with a degree in theory and composition, she is also a world-class accordionist and serves on the Board of Directors for the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International.

Vinson Cole is an operatic tenor who has performed mostly in Europe but also in the United States. He has performed in many famous opera houses of Europe, including Paris, Milan, Brussels, Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna, Hamburg, and London, as well as in Australia and the United States (San Francisco, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Santa Fe, and Seattle).

While his career started with several major roles in Mozart operas, he became well known for his French repertoire with roles in Manon, Orphée, Carmen, Don Carlos, and others. He is a member of the adjunct faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music, has taught at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and has served as a creative consultant and director of the resident artist program for the Lyric Opera in Kansas City.

Through medici.tv, you can watch his performances in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Mozart’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Freegal Music features his performances in selections from Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Mozart’s Bastien & Bastienne, and Esa-Pekka Salonen Conducts Stravinsky. You can listen to more of his performances in Classical Music Library and read brief biographical sketches about this artist in Classical Music Reference Library. For artist interviews and music critics’ reviews of performers and performances, be sure to read about him in Fine Arts.

Terri M.
Consumer Technology Specialist

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