Composer Shay Lynch was born and raised in Olean, NY. He began playing the violin at the age of four. He studied piano, voice, and many other instruments throughout his childhood with his parents and their colleagues. By 1993, when he left his studies at Fredonia School of Music (SUNY-Fredonia), he had learned or taught himself to play most of the instruments in the western repertoire.
Shay composes in multiple musical genres for film, television, and digital media. Early projects were for MTV and VH1, notably the MTV Spring Break 2000 packaging and the commercial campaign announcing the launch of the Sundance Channel. He went on to score and sound design an entire network redesign of the Sundance Channel in 2004. Other projects include work for networks such as Bravo, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, Showtime, PBS, and TBS, among others.
For much of his composing career, Shay has collaborated with Brooklyn animator and visual artist Jeff Scher, creating a body of short films that now numbers in the hundreds. The films have premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Guggenheim New York, and the Museum Of Modern Art, where a number of the films are in the permanent collection. The IFC Center commissioned the pair in 2005 to create the welcome trailer for their theater. In 2007, Shay became the resident composer for Scher’s New York Times online series, “The Animated Life,” which produced one short film per month for more than two years. The two also collaborated on the film “Pretty Dead,” which was featured on the Showtime Short Stories digital-first series (2010).
Shay began a fruitful new artistic collaboration with award-winning director and animator Paul Fierlinger and director and colorist Sandra Fierlinger (My Dog Tulip, Still Life With Animated Dogs) in 2008. In addition to several commercial projects, notably a five-part PSA series for The Shelter Pet Project, Shay was given the opportunity to score their newest animated feature, Slocum at Sea with Himself. The project follows the true story of Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail around the world alone. The film is scheduled for a 2015 release. Shay and the Fierlingers also completed a short animated film based on Me… Jane—a Caldecott honor book written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell about Jane Goodall’s childhood—for Scholastic’s Weston Woods production company (2014).
In commemoration of the lives lost during the September 11 attacks, Shay was commissioned to create a new work by the Olean City Schools Foundation. He rehearsed and conducted an orchestra comprising high-school students from his alma mater (who gave the piece its name) and members of the Southern Tier Symphony in the premiere performance of the work, Remembrance, A Decade, on September 11, 2011.
In 2011, Shay began scoring political opinion videos for The Daily Beast, two of which were nominated for a National Magazine Award (2012). With the 2014 launch of Ezra Klein’s Vox.com, he accepted the role of resident composer/sound designer for the site’s “Explainer” video series. He also continues to score a variety of advertising projects and artistic commissions.