Discipline: Music Composition

Robert Wykes

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: St. Louis, MO
MacDowell Fellowships: 1951, 1952

Robert A. Wykes (1926-2021) was an American composer of contemporary classical music and flautist. He attended the Eastman School of Music, obtaining a master's degree in music theory. He taught at Bowling Green State University from 1950 to 1952, also playing flute with the Toledo Symphony. His opera The Prankster (made at MacDowell) premiered at the University in January 1952. Later that year, Wykes left Bowling Green to study and teach at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he stayed until he graduated with a doctorate in music in 1955. He was appointed to the music faculty of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1955, becoming a full professor in 1965. He played flute with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1963 to 1967 and with the Studio for New Music from 1966 to 1969. He retired from Washington University in 1988. He was appointed composer-in-residence at the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California in 1989 and was a visiting scholar at the Computer Center for Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University in 1991.

Portrait courtesy of Washington University Archives

Made at MacDowell

Fellow Works Supported by MacDowell

The Prankster (opera)



Robert Wykes worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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