Vocal Area Network logo VAN Feature

Celebrating 40 Years: An Interview with Organist / Composer McNeil Robinson
by Andrew Adams for Vocal Area Network
Posted March 13, 2003

McNeil RobinsonFor 40 years, organist/composer McNeil Robinson has been one of New York City's most visible church musicians. His two-decade tenure at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin saw the creation of one of the most memorable liturgical music programs in the city. He was in the forefront of the Early Music movement, and for more than twenty years he has been Organist/Music Director at Park Avenue Christian Church, organist at Park Avenue Synagogue and head of the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music. His choral compositions are performed frequently at churches across the country. An internationally renowned recitalist, he receives consistent critical and popular acclaim for his improvisational skills, which are legendary. In this interview, he offers his unique perspective on New York's church music over the last 40 years.

Vocal Area Network: What was NYC church music like when you started 40 years ago? How has it changed?

McNeil Robinson: 40 years ago, the singing was loud, and the organs were