Wright State grad Jim McCutcheon takes top spot in Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Adult Composer Contest

Jim McCutcheon

Guitarist Jim McCutcheon, a Wright State University alumnus and music educator, won first place in the 2019 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Adult Composer Contest.

McCutcheon was honored for the third movement of a concerto he wrote titled “Mirkin Concerto for Classical Guitar and Strings.”

McCutcheon said he worked on the piece on and off for about a year.

“The three judges’ comments were delightful and informative, and they all really understood what I was doing with the work,” he said.

McCutcheon said the piece was inspired by David Mirkin, professor of pathology and pediatrics at the Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine and director of the Pathology and Clinical Laboratory at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

McCutcheon said Mirkin, an ardent advocate of the arts and a lover of classical guitar music, had attended the premiere of a serenade McCutcheon had written for guitar and strings. After the performance, Mirkin told McCutcheon it would make a nice second movement.

“‘So you mean I need to write a first and a third movement to complete a concerto?’” McCutcheon asked. “He nodded, and I went straight to work on the third movement.”

McCutcheon is widely known as “The Guitar Man,” a nickname he got from young students when he would go into the schools to share his love of the guitar and music.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in guitar performance from Wright State in 1978. He then joined the faculty at Wright State as an adjunct faculty member teaching guitar and went on to earn a master’s degree in music education at Wright State in 1991.

McCutcheon is artist-in-residence at the University of Dayton and also adjunct faculty at Miami University. He has made four recordings for adults and two for children and written several publications of guitar compositions and instruction books. He has also produced a weekly classical guitar program, “The Intimate Guitar,” on Dayton Public Radio for the past 30 years.

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