American author, composer and teacher Lena McLin was born Lena Mae Johnson in Atlanta, Georgia on 5 September 1928. She grew up under the influence of her uncle, the composer, musician and Christian evangelist Thomas Andrew Dorsey, and she accompanied his choir. She studied piano and violin at Spelman College and then studied at the American Conservatory of Music.
She taught music in Chicago, at various schools, including Kenwood Academy, and is known for launching the careers of many musicians.
She founded the McLin Ensemble in the 1950s, whilst she was public relations director at Park District Opera Guild. During the same decade, she and her husband founded the McLin Opera Company, and their performances appeared on radio and TV.
In 1977 she published the book Pulse: A History Of Music.
She wrote music in a wide range of styles, including cantatas, masses and rock operas, influenced by both European classical music and traditional African-American music.
She was also pastor and minister of music of the Holy Vessel Baptist Church in Chicago.
Lena McLin died on 3 October 2023, aged ninety-five.