Janis McKay, D.M.A.
Division of Brass and Woodwind Studies, Coordinator
Janis McKay is a bassoonist, educator, and writer residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a Professor of Music at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), the Principal Bassoon of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Contrabassoonist of the Reno Philharmonic, and the Principal Bassoon of the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria.
As a bassoonist, McKay has held positions and performed with numerous ensembles including Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Reno Chamber Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, and Louisville Orchestra among many others. As a freelance musician, McKay has performed and/or toured with artists such as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Charlotte Church, John Williams, Seth MacFarlane, Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Metallica, Stevie Wonder, and Tony Bennett. McKay has been a featured soloist twice with the International Music Festival in Ukraine, twice with the Classical Music Festival touring Austria and Hungary, and once with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. She can be heard on Summit, d'Note, Starkland Records, and First Edition recordings. Her solo album “Dark Wind” was released by Troppo Note Publishing in 2017.
A long-time member of the UNLV School of Music faculty, McKay currently serves as Chair of the UNLV Faculty Senate and served as Vice Chair in the previous term. In this role, she helps to oversee the promotion and implementation of shared governance at the R1 institution – a title given by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In addition to the bassoon studio, McKay has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in musicology and research. Academic areas of focus include local and state music history, Igor Stravinsky, Russian music, symphonic music, and music of the Classical and Contemporary periods. She previously taught at Baylor University, Capital University, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Wright State University.
McKay has published articles in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music and in Cuepoint (Medium). She is the author of a book about Las Vegas casino musicians, Played Out on the Strip: The Rise and Fall of Las Vegas Casino Bands, published by University of Nevada Press in 2016.
McKay received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Ohio State University, a Master of Music degree from the University of Louisville, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia. Her major teachers were Christopher Weait, Matthew Karr, and William Davis.