Music matters … at least great music does


Refinersfire is a for profit independent recorded label committed to the idea that great music is one of the highest achievements of civilization and that its continued cultivation is essential to civilization’s health. By performing, recording, and distributing both great new music and educational materials about great music, we aim to preserve this idea for generations to come.

If you share our conviction that great music matters a great deal and it is worth investing in you may want to help support Refinersfire through a donation – of any amount, nothing is too small – via the secure PayPal button below.


Also, reach out – we’d love to hear any other ideas on how you’d like to help.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit Refinersfire and for your investment in the preservation and continuation of great music.

Most sincerely,
Michael, Janet, and Chris

REFINERSFIRE, LLC is chartered in the State of Tennessee

Founding members:

Michael Linton (b. 1952, Long Beach, CA) Along with Wendy White, Jerry Blackstone, Mary Hopper, and Janet Linton (all musicians featured on REFINERSFIRE “Cantata No. 2, Christmas”) Linton is graduate of Wheaton College (Ill). He studied composition with Krzysztof Penderecki, Lukas Foss, T. Scott Huston, John Gilbert and Bruce MacCombie and was awarded various graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati, Yale, and New York University. While still in graduate school, Linton was appointed to the faculty of the University of Bridgeport where, besides teaching music history and theory, he directed the Mertens Contemporary Composers Festival, which was at the time the country’s largest festival devoted to the music of a living American composer. Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, George Rochberg, Ned Rorem, Alice Parker, Stephen Sondheim, and Randall Thompson were all honored by festivals celebrating them and their music through performances, roundtables and scholarly presentations. Upon completion of his studies in New York, a small Christian college in Arden Hills, Minnesota brought-in Linton to chair their growing music program and although Linton was fired from that position after eighteen months (word to the prudent, if not the wise: don’t push for excellence where good-enough is valued), he continued to teach at the college and to conduct the college’s semi-professional orchestra. For the last twenty years Linton has taught undergraduate theory at Middle Tennessee State University’s School of Music and coordinated the school’s undergraduate composition and theory program.

Linton worked closely with George Rochberg as he wrote his dissertation on the composer’s famous “Concord Quartets”, material that eventually became the liner notes for the New World Records CD of Rochberg’s quartets 3 – 6. He has twice been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and has written for the Wall Street Journal, First Things, The Weekly Standard and the Groves Dictionary of Art and worked as a music critic for The Connecticut Post and the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. With his wife Janet, he served as a church musician in Baptist, Congregational, and Episcopal churches in Kentucky, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Tennessee.

Janet Gustafson Linton is a native of Stratford, Connecticut. After studying at the Hartt School of Music, she went on to receive degrees in piano performance from Wheaton College (Illinois) and Northwestern University where she studied with Donald Issac. She and Michael Linton married in 1976 after which time she continued to study in New York with Anne Chamberlain and briefly with Beveridge Webster. Linton is known for her interest in contemporary music and through her career won praises from Lukas Foss, Leonard Bernstein, George Rochberg and Ned Rorem for her performances of their music. Beginning the age of 15, Linton has served as a church organist and pianist in American Baptist, Congregational, independent, and Episcopal churches in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Tennessee. She has been a member of the faculty at The University of Bridgeport, Northwestern College (St. Paul) and Middle Tennessee State University and now teaches music and heads the fine arts program at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. She has premiered almost all of her husband’s works featuring piano and organ.

Chris McMurtry (b. 1979) is a Nashville native who began performing at the age of 15. He supported himself as a studio musician and toured the indie-rock circuit until 25. It was while on the road, mostly with the band aireline, that he began shaping his compositional technique. Somewhere along the line he began wondering how ‘serious’ he really was about music and decided to dive headlong into classical music composition. He of course fell in love and has been solely dedicated to it ever since. In addition to music, McMurtry had the great pleasure of serving the meticulous and insanely great Apple Inc for 8 years, helping to develop systems and shape the customer experience in their most successful product – the Apple Retail Store. With several releases planned for early 2014, McMurtry’s music explores the role of the electric guitar as a serious orchestral instrument. McMurtry lives in Tennessee with his wife Anna and two daughters.