Richard St. Clair


"I believe that I was destined, all along, for a career in music."

-Richard St. Clair

Richard St. Clair was born in Jamestown, North Dakota on September 21, 1946. The following year his family moved to Grand Forks, ND, a city then of about 25,000 inhabitants which had far greater musical resources than Jamestown through a university, a local orchestra, schools and churches with quality choruses, and a concert series that each year brought in many prestigious performers.  His musical experiences in Grand Forks were the foundation of his musical life. He began piano lessons there at age 4. By age 16 he had begun to compose music and received some performances within the next year. He was awarded an A.B. in Music Composition from Harvard in 1969, taking his Masters and Doctoral degrees from Harvard in 1973 and 1978 respectively.

St. Clair's esthetic is comprehensive.  He is equally comfortable composing twelve-tone music as he is composing in more traditional language.  He believes that style is not the determinant but quality is: If the music has heart, depth, and integrity, if it speaks from the heart and to the heart, if it says something that can be understood by others than one's peers, that is an achievement;  music is the universal language. A recurring theme in Richard St. Clair's music is Love.  He has composed numerous songs and choral pieces which are intended to confirm the importance of love in human experience. Equally present in St. Clair's music is the theme of Buddha Dharma, several song cycles on Buddhist texts. St. Clair is a confirmed Jodo Shinshu Buddhist.

Richard St. Clair has composed over 130 compositions since the early 1960s, including 8 song cycles, 4 string quartets, 8 piano sonatas, other chamber works, numerous works for chorus, and works for orchestra and band. St. Clair made his debut as composer and pianist at the Marlboro Festival of Music in 1967. His works have been featured in a number of venues through North America. His works have been presented by such distinguished musicians as Jane Struss and the Janus 2000 ensemble, Composers in Red Sneakers, Basso Moderno Duo, the Boston Cecilia chorus, Coro Allegro, Convivium Musicum, and the Longy School of Music's Modern American Music series. His works for band have been performed by the MIT Concert Band. In Fall 2000, Richard St. Clair gave a solo recital of his new piano compositions at MIT in the Artists Behind the Desk series.

As a pianist himself, St. Clair writes idiomatically for the piano and understands the technical challenges his music poses for the soloist. Much of his music is for solo piano or piano in combination with voices or other instruments. His works span styles from atonal serialism to a more stylistically eclectic orientation in recent years.

Lately, St. Clair's music is increasingly challenging, with elements of dissonance and tonal references intermixed. Of his 1997 work "Lamentations of Shinran" based on confessional poems by the great Japanese Jodo Shinshu Buddhist sage, Shinran Shonin (1173-1262), Boston Phoenix music critic Lloyd Schwartz wrote, "St. Clair has created a fascinating sound world, both charged and atmospheric; His is a stirring and original voice." This song cycle is characteristic of St. Clair's more recent work. Even more challenging are his recent Piano Sonata no. 8, Six Strange Waltzes, Bachiana Dodecafonica, and Animations - all for solo piano.


ԇ        Prophecy of Micah [Opus 1] -- 1963-1964, dur: 5:30. Mixed chorus SATB,  Organ or Piano accompaniment.

ԇ        Lamb of God [Opus 1A]  -- 1963-1964 dur: 1:45. Mixed chorus SATB a cappella.

ԇ        Statement for Bells [Opus 2] -- 1964 dur: 1:00 for Keyboard Carillon

ԇ        Piano Piece no. 1 [Opus 3] -- 1966-7 Dur: 6:00. Solo piano. Featured at the Marlboro Festival of Music in the summer of 1967, the composer performing, as part of the Contemporary Composers Program under a Rockefeller Foundation grant.

ԇ        Piano Piece no. 2 [Opus 4] -- 1967 Dur: 7:00. Solo piano. Commissioned by the Andover Summer Session under the auspices of noted Classics scholar and translator Dudley Fitts. (Press notice)  Premiere 8/9/67 at Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., composer performing.

ԇ        She Weeps over Rahoon [Opus 5] (Poem by James Joyce) - 1968 Dur: 2:00.  Contralto/Piano.

ԇ        Dreamscapes [Opus 6] -- 1967-8 Dur: 14:00 For Violin and Piano.

ԇ        Three Movements [Opus 7] -- 1968 Dur: 6:00. For Violin and Piano.

ԇ        Piano Sonata no. 1 [Opus 8] -- mp3 recording sound performed by the composer. 1968-9 Dur: 20:00. Review of Premiere, Dec. 8, 1970

ԇ        Serenade Opus [9] -- 1969 Dur: 9:00 For solo piano. Review of Premiere, Dec. 8, 1970

ԇ        Fantasy [Opus 10] -- 1969 Dur: 3:30 Piano solo. Review of Premiere, Dec. 8, 1970

ԇ        Two Songs [Opus 11] (Poem by William Mullen) -- 1969 Dur: 4:00.  Baritone with Piano accompaniment.

ԇ        Images of Tintern Abbey [Opus 12] (Poem by William Wordsworth) -- 1968-9 Dur: 14:00. Ten/Cl/2Vln/Va/Vlc.

ԇ        Medley [Opus 13] -- 1969 Dur: 9:00. Piano 4-hands.   Review of Premiere, Dec. 8, 1970

ԇ        Toccata Rag [Opus 14] -- 1969 Dur: 2:00. Piano solo, performed by the composer.   Review of Premiere, Dec. 8, 1970

ԇ        Four Concert Dances [Opus 15] -- 1968-70 Dur: 8:00. Piano solo. Review of Premiere, Dec. 8, 1970

ԇ        Concerto a Capriccio [Opus 16] -- 1969-70 Dur: 15:00. Piano and Orchestra.

ԇ        Two Piano Pieces [Opus 17] -- 1970 Dur: 10:00. Piano solo. Dedicated to Roger Sessions.

ԇ        Piano Sonata no. 2 [Opus 18] -- mp3 recording sound 1970 Dur: 25:00. Piano solo, performed by Trevor Barnard. Review of Concert Premiere, Dec. 8, 1970

ԇ        Four Short Pieces [Opus 19] -- 1970 Dur: 3:00. Musical impressions or take-offs of four songs by the Beatles. They present the tunes in a disguised or paraphrased style. 5/71

ԇ        Duo-Sonata [Opus 20] -- 1970 Dur: 15:00. Two violins.

ԇ        Eight Piano Pieces for Children [Opus 21] -- 1970 Dur: 6:00.

ԇ        Songs of a Wayside Inn [Opus 22] (Poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) -- 1970  12:00  For Mezzo-soprano and Piano.

ԇ        Five Folk-Pieces [Opus 23] -- 1970 Dur: 8:00 Piano solo.

ԇ        Four Preludes and Counterpoints [Opus 24] -- 1970. Dur: 8:00. Piano solo.

ԇ        Christmas Trio [Opus 25] -- mp3 sound 1970 Dur: 16:00 For Flute, Cello and Piano.

ԇ        Allegro in F [Opus 26] -- 1970 Dur: 2:30. Piano solo, a rondo.

ԇ        Piano Sonata no. 3 [Opus 27] --  mp3 recording 1971 Dur: 12:00. Piano solo. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        Six Songs [Opus 28] (poems by Kenneth Patchen) -- 1970-71,  Dur: 14:00, Soprano and Piano (read)

ԇ        Peace Is Life [Opus 29] (anonymous text) -- 1971. Dur: 1:00.

ԇ        Yonder [Opus 30] (poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo") -- 1971-72, Dur.: 14:00, Chorus a cappella SSAATTBB

ԇ        Double Concerto ["Amen Concerto"] [Opus 31] -- 1971-2 Dur: 25:00 For 2 Pianos and Concert Band.

ԇ        Batik [Opus 32] -- 1972 04:00 Piano solo.

ԇ        Color Studies ["Transfiguration"] [Opus 33] -- 1972 Dur: 10:00.  For string trio (Violin, Viola, Cello).

ԇ        Piano Sonata no. 4 [Opus 34] -- 1973 Dur: 23:00. Piano solo.

ԇ        Piano Sonata no. 5 [Opus 35]-- 1974 Dur: 07:30. Piano solo.

ԇ        Canzona [Opus 36] -- 1975, Dur:  04:00 for String Quartet.

ԇ        Soliloquies [Opus 37] -- 1975 (rev.) Dir: 15:00. Flute solo.

ԇ        Notes from Captivity [Opus 38] -- 1976 Dur: 3:00 Clarinet solo.

ԇ        Seven Dedications [Opus 39] -- 1973-6 Dur: 7:00 Piano pieces in honor of Copland, Stravinsky, Ruggles, Ives, Hovhaness, Sessions and Schoenberg.

ԇ        A Round for Machaut [Opus 40] -- 1975/89 Dur: 2:00. SATB soli or Small Chorus.

ԇ        Help Me, O Power Above [Opus 41] (Poem by R.St.Clair) -- 1989 Dur: 01:00 Chorus SATB

ԇ        Ragañera [Opus 42] -- 1989 4:00 Piano solo. Classical ragtime style. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        Champion Rag [Opus 43] -- 1989 Dur: 3:00, Piano solo. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        Ragtime Serenade [Opus 44] -- 1989 Dur: 3:30, Piano solo.

ԇ        Blue Rag Espagnole [Opus 45] -- 1989 Dur: 4:30, Piano solo. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        The Twenty-Third Psalm [Opus 46] -- (Bible KJV) -- 1989-90 Dur: 7:00 Chorus SAATBB.

ԇ        The Twenty-Third Psalm [Opus 46a] -- (Bible/KJV) -- 1989-90 Dur: 7:00 Same as above, but for Chorus SATB with Horn and Trombone.

ԇ        Sentimental Rag [Opus 42] -- 1989 3:30, Piano solo. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        Testimonium [Opus 48] -- 1990 Dur: 4:00 Organ solo. Written in honor of John Raymond Ferris, who was then retiring as director of the Harvard University Choir.

ԇ        Starry-Eyed Rag [Opus 49] -- 1989-90 3:00 Piano solo. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        The Windhover [Opus 50] -- (Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins) -- 1990 Dur: 4:00 Chorus SSAA. (for women's chorus).

ԇ        Missa Syllabica [Opus 51] -- mp3 recording sound 1990-1 15:00 Chorus SATB, a cappella Latin Mass. Performed by Convivium Musicum, David Hodgkins, cond.

ԇ        Lord, Make Me An Instrument [Opus 52] -- (St.Francis) -- 1990 Dir: 2:00. Chorus SATB a cappella.

ԇ        Heaven [Opus 52a] (George Herbert) -- 1990 Dur: 3:00. Dialogue piece between a choir and an echo choir.  SATB/SATB a cappella

ԇ        Three Prayers (Serenity Prayer, The Lord's Prayer, Benediction) [Opus 53] -- 1990 Dur: 8:00. Chorus SATB a cappella

ԇ        Jubilant Rag [Opus 54] -- Piano Solo. 1990 Dur: 3:30. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        Peloponnesian Rag [Opus 55] -- 1990 Dir: 4:00. Piano solo. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        Magnificat [Opus 56] -- (Bible KJV) -- 1990 05:30 Chorus SSAA (women's chorus) a cappella.

ԇ        Heavenly Rag [Opus 57] -- 1990 Dir: 4:00. Piano solo.

ԇ        Elegy [Opus 58] -- 1990 Dur: 7:00 Full orchestra or string orchestra versions. In memory of Leonard Bernstein.

ԇ        String Quartet no. 1 [Opus 59] -- mp3 sound  1990 Dur: 18:00. In 3 movements.

ԇ        Iron Filings [Opus 60] -- 1989. Piano solo. Dur: ca. 3:00. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        Madrigals for Spring [Opus 61] (Poetic fragments by Percy Bysshe Shelley) -- 1990 Dur: 15:00 Chorus SSAT a cappella.

ԇ        Love-Canzonettes [Opus 62] (Poems by John Dryden) -- 1990 Dur: 25:00 Chorus SSAATTBB a cappella.

ԇ        Overture to 'Beowulf' [Opus 63] -- 1990 Dur: 6:00 Full-size Concert Band.

ԇ        The Clear Vision [Opus 64] -- (Poem by John Greenleaf Whittier) -- 1990 Dur: 7:00. Chorus TTBB (men's chorus) a cappella.

ԇ        Amendments [Opus 65] -- 1990 Dur: 11:00 Piano solo. 12-tone (strict 'row' technique) style.

ԇ        Moabit Liederbuch [Opus 66] -- (Sonnets by Albrecht Haushofer ) -- 1990 Dur: 16:00.  Soprano and Piano.

ԇ        Sonata for Solo Violin [Opus 67] -- 1991 Dur: 10:00.

ԇ        Variations on a Hallowe'en Costume  [Opus 68]  -- 1991-2 Dur: 14:00 Piano solo, variations on a tune my wife, Janice Ellison, wrote several years earlier. She went to a costume party dressed as a piano, and using her basic knowledge of music she designed a decoration for the music stand which had scales, motifs and counterpoint.

ԇ        Plaint for Somalia [Opus 69] -- 1993 Dur: 3:00 Piano solo.

ԇ        Short and Sweet [Opus 70] -- 1989 Dur: 3:30. Solo Piano.

ԇ        String Quartet no. 2 [Opus 71] --  1991-93 Dur: 16:00,  based upon the 12-tone row of a string quartet (destroyed) which I wrote as a student composer in 1964-69.

ԇ        Sparkling Rag [Opus 72] -- 1989 Dur: 3:30. Solo Piano. Performed by the Composer.

ԇ        ...suggestions... [Opus 73] -- 1994 Dur: 4:00. Piano solo. zen-like pieces

ԇ        Moon Flowers (50 Haiku-Moments for Solo Piano) [Opus 74] -- 1994 Dur: 23:00 These pieces were written to commemorate the 300th year after haiku master Matsuo Basho's passing (1644-1694).

ԇ        Persistence Rag [Opus 75] -- 1989 Dur: 3:00 Piano Solo.

ԇ        Acadia Rhapsody [Opus 76] -- 1994 (rev.,96) Dur: 8:00 For Trumpet, Violin and Piano.

ԇ        Ballade no. 1 in D for Piano [Opus 77] - 1993/94 - 1999. Dur.: ca. 6:00.

ԇ        Desert Hallucinations [Opus 78] (Poems by Donald Rubinstein) -- 1994-5. Dur: 6:00 For Baritone voice and Cello.

ԇ        Song of Tolerance [Opus 79] (Poem by R. St. Clair) -- 1995 Dur: 5:00. for SATB with Piano.

ԇ        Etiquette Rag [Opus 80] -- 1989-90 Dur: 4:30 Piano Solo. Performed by the composer.

ԇ        High Flight [Opus 81] (Poem by John G. Magee, Jr.) -- 1990-95 Dur: 3:00. SATB/Solo Soprano.  In memory of the crew of the space shuttle, USS Challenger, which was destroyed in 1986 after launch.

ԇ        A Higher Glory [Opus 82] (New Testament, adapted) -- 1975/95 Dur: 2:00. SATB a capella

ԇ        Alas, Good Friend [Opus 83] (Poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley) -- 1969/95 Dur: 2:00. SATB a capella.

ԇ        Piano Sonata no. 6 [Opus 84] -- mp3 recording sound 1994-95 17:00. Performed by Andrew Anderson, piano solo.

ԇ        Evening Anthem [Opus 85] (poem by Richard St. Clair) -- 1994-95 Dur: 3:00 SATB a capella.

ԇ        Three Meditations for String Orchestra [Opus 86] -- 1990-95 14:00 String orchestra. [Work in progress].

ԇ        Ricercare for Orchestra [Opus 87] -- mp3 recording sound 1995 Dur: 7:00, Full orchestra. Performance by University of North Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonu Kalam, cond.

ԇ        Equinox (poem by William Mullen)  [Opus 88] -- 1996, Dur: 12:00  Tenor and Piano.

ԇ        Eucaphonies (previous title: The Ancient Art: Hocquetus-Motet) [Opus 89] -- 1990-96 Dur: 9:00.  Brass Quintet (2Tpt/Hn/Tbn/Tuba).

ԇ        In Praise of Our Loves [Opus 90] -- 1995-6 34:00 SATB with chamber orchestra.

ԇ        Three Short Sandburg Choruses ("Fog," "Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard," and "Grass" from Sandburg's Chicago Poems) [Opus 91] -- 1996 5:00 Unison chorus [SA / TB in octaves], a cappella.

ԇ        Inventings [Opus 92] -- 1996 10:00 Flute and Oboe.

ԇ        Flower of the Dharma [Opus 93] -- 1997 20:00 Chorus SATB, Piano and Percussion. Also available for Chorus and Orchestra.

ԇ        Diamond Cutter [Opus 94] -- 1997 11:00 Carillon.

ԇ        Jeux d'Esprit (Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra) [Opus 95] -- begun 1990, completed 1997. Dur: ca. 18:00

ԇ        Today's Lord's Prayer [Opus 96] -- 1997. Dur: ca. 8:00 For SATB chorus, a cappella.

ԇ        Ragtime Sonata (Piano Sonata no. 7) [Opus 97] -- mp3 recording sound 1997. Dur: ca. 14:00 (Order the sheet music for Ragtime Sonata from The Ragtime Store.) Performance by the composer.

ԇ        Beautiful Mountain Rag [Opus 98] -- 1997. Dur: ca. 5:30 Piano Solo. A classical slow rag, the melody (and interlacing inner voices) based upon the 12-tone row used by Arnold Schoenberg in his Fourth String Quartet. Unlike the Schoenberg, this rag is completely tonal, though highly chromatic. The title of the piece is a pun/reference to Arnold Schoenberg's last name (in German, schoen = beautiful, and berg = mountain).

ԇ        Two Songs of Innocence [Opus 99] -- 1997. Dur: ca. 7:30. For a cappella chorus (SATB). Settings of two of William Blake's "Songs of Innocence." No. 1: On the Ecchoing Green; no. 2: Night.

ԇ        Ascent [Opus 100] -- 1993-97. Dur: ca. 4:00 For small chorus of high voices, or for two sopranos and alto soli. Setting of poem by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

ԇ        Songs of the Pure Land [Opus 101] -- 1997. mp3 recording sound Dur: ca. 11:00. For Mezzo-soprano and piano. Settings of English translations of short Japanese poems by Honen Shonin (1133-1212), a leading teacher of Buddhism in medieval Japan. Performed by Jane Struss, soprano, and the composer at the piano.

ԇ        Suite for the Piano Alone [Opus 102] -- 1990-97 [Revised 2010]. Dur: ca. 19:00. Piano solo. A work generally patterned after Baroque keyboard suites complete with sarabande, gavotte and other dance movements in a distinctly modern "accent".

ԇ        Tango Request, for Piano [Opus 103] -- 1998. Dur: ca. 5:00 Piano solo.

ԇ        The Lamentations of Shinran [Opus 104] -- 1998.  mp3 recording sound Dur: ca. 27:00 . For Soprano, Tenor and String Quartet. From Shozomatsu Wasan by Shinran Shonin (1173-1262), in Japanese.  Review  in Boston Phoenix. Performed by Janus 21.

ԇ        Toccata Moderna [Opus 105] -- 1990/1998, Dur. 5:00, Harpsichord solo.

ԇ        Songlets [Opus 106] -- 1999, Dur. 12:00, for Mezzo Soprano, Bb Clarinet and Piano, on haiku poems by Issa Kobayashi

ԇ        Seven Dhamma Lessons [ Opus 107] -- 1999, Dur.: 8:00, for Reciter, Flute, Oboe, Piano and Percussion.

ԇ        Sonata for Clarinet [in B-flat] and Piano [Opus 108] -- 2000, Dur.: ca. 15:00.

ԇ        Nocturne in G for Piano [Opus 109] - 2000, Dur.: ca. 3:30.

ԇ        Odysseus Rag for Piano [Opus 110] - 2000, Dur.: ca. 5:00. Performed by the composer.

ԇ      Penelope Rag for Piano [Opus 110a]  - 2000, Dur. ca. 4:30

ԇ        Five Thoughtful Pieces for Piano [Opus 111] - 2000, Dur.: ca. 10 min.

ԇ        Owl Night, for Soprano and Piano [Opus 112] - 2000, Dur. ca. 10 min. Poem by Susan Spilecki ("Owl Night").

ԇ        From "Children of the Sparrow" [Opus 113] - 2000, Dur. ca. 12 min. Musical reactions to haiku by Robert Gibson. For Flute, Piano, and reciter.

ԇ        Song of Sorrow, In Memory of Sept. 11, 2001 mp3 sound [Opus 114] - 2001, Dur. ca. 13 min. For Violin and Piano.

ԇ        Six Whimsical Miniatures for Harpsichord or Piano (2003-2005)

ԇ        String Quartet No. 3 (2005/2009) mp3 sound (10:00)

ԇ        Songs from the Chinese (2005)  mp3 recording sound  10 Songs for Soprano, Flute, Double Bass, and Piano based on San Chu poems of the Yuan Dynasty (15:00). Performed by Row Twelve Contemporary Music Ensemble.

      ԇ        Streams of Consciousness, for Organ solo (commissioned by Carson Cooman), 2006 (23:00)

ԇ        Surprises, for Piano Solo (2008) (four short pieces for piano) (5:00)

ԇ        Piano Sonata No. 8 (2008) mp3 sound (15:00)

ԇ        There Is A Spirit, for Chorus SATB a cappella (2009) (5:00)

ԇ        The Land of Peace and Bliss: A Musical Mandala for Mezzo-Soprano, Cello, and Piano (completed 2009) (22:00)

ԇ        Organ Mass (1972/2009) (26:00).

ԇ        Six Strange Waltzes for Piano Solo (2009) (7:00).

ԇ        Ballade no. 2 for Piano Solo (1995-2009) (7:00).

ԇ        An Idyll for Solo Flute (2009) (9:00).

ԇ        Animations, 12 pieces for solo piano (2009) (dur.: 17:00)

ԇ        Bachiana Dodecafonica for Solo Piano (2010) (dur.: 16:00)

ԇ         Kisamboge: A Dharma Celebration for Chorus, SATB (with or without piano accompaniment). mp3 sound (dur.: 16:00) (2010). A setting of a gatha (Buddhist poem) of the Buddhist monk and luminary, Shan-tao (China, 613-681 BCE)

ԇ     Energies: Music for Flute, Violin, Double Bass, and Piano (2010) (dur.: ca. 9:00)

ԇ      Fantasy Impromptu for Solo Piano (2010) (dur.: ca 8:00)

ԇ      Introduction to the Piano: 32 Piano Pieces for Beginning Pianists (2010)

ԇ      Twelve Miniatures for Solo Piano (2011) (dur.: ca. 8:00)

Return to home page

Last updated: 8 September  2012.

Dozens of Richard St. Clair's compositions can be heard for free and sheet music downloaded at The IMSLP Petrucci Library website  

For comments or inquiries
E-mail to 

Mail comments to Richard St. Clair.