Frank McCarty - Professional Biographical Sketch


    Frank McCarty was born in southern California in 1941. He began working as a professional commercial musician before the age of fifteen. Playing the saxophone and clarinet (and later, the drums), he performed in various dance halls and bars playing pop, country, polkas, jazz and r&b. Around the age of sixteen he joined the Musician's Union. These activities continued until 1971 when he left California.
    From 1961 to 1971, he was a member of the percussion section of the San Diego Symphony. He was also timpanist and principal percussion of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, 1967-70. Through the 1980s, McCarty also worked as a pit musician for opera, ballet, musical theatre, and many stage and ice shows.
    As a free-lance composer, arranger and conductor, McCarty worked extensively in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. He conducted and arranged for the San Diego Civic Light Opera and Ballet and worked in Los Angeles studios and orchestras. He was also a church choir director, holding positions at College Lutheran, La Jolla Methodist and East Whittier Presbyterian churches. In 1970, the San Diego Opera Company commissioned and produced his children's opera, "A Song For Gar", which was conducted by the composer in a series of public and in-school performances throughout Southern California.
    Starting in 1960, Frank became involved in audio recording technology. He composed and recorded music for the Theatre Department and KPBS radio and television at San Diego State. Later, he studied film composing at USC and composed, conducted and recorded for various theatres and film companies. He then became involved in electronic music while studying for his doctorate at UC San Diego. McCarty became familiar with various synthesizers and began building special-use analog circuitry and controllers for lights and projections. He published in those areas and consulted for several companies including C.B.S. Musical Instruments. He also performed with BIOME, a mixed-media, live-electronic music ensemble, touring in the US and Europe between 1970 and 1974.
    In the early 1970's, McCarty lived in Pennsylvania where he was a member of the music faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and Musical Director and composer for the University of Pittsburgh Theatre. He also provided music for WQED. The 1976 documentary theatre production "Steel City", with music composed and conducted by McCarty, ran successfully during the spring and summer of the American Bicentennial year in Pittsburgh and New York and was nationally broadcast on Public Television.
    Moving to North Carolina in the late '70's, McCarty continued many of these activities. He worked as a pit musician for several stage and ice shows. He was conductor and/or composer for the New Performing Dance Company of Durham, the North Carolina Composers Alliance, the American Dance Festival, Drama and Music departments of a local university, and the Young Artists Opera Theatre. He was a panelist for the North Carolina Arts Council. He was the producer of the "Happy 70th Birthday, John Cage Marathon Concert" in Greensboro, NC, 9/15/82. For several years he was also a consultant for Micro Technology of Raleigh, one of the first American companies involved in digital audio recording.