Owen Murray

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The emergence of the classical accordion as a recognised and respected instrument on the UK concert platform is due in no small part to the efforts and achievements of Owen Murray who has single-handedly pioneered an awareness and enthusiasm for the instrument in the classical music world. Overcoming unfamiliarity and negative attitudes, he has not flinched from his committed campaign to raise the instrument's status. He has inspired not only a new generation of young performers but has also commissioned a considerable body of works from British composers.
Born in Scotland, Owen Murray studied with Mogens Ellegaard at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. He graduated in 1982 and returned to Gt. Britain where he campaigned, through his playing and teaching, for the acceptance of the accordion at conservatory level. In 1986 he was invited by the Royal Academy of Music to establish an accordion department, and appointed professor - the first appointement of its kind in the U.K. Under his dedicated tutelage, a distinguished line of young players has contributed significantly to the accordion's continuing development, many of his students winning prestigious competitions and embarking on successful careers themselves. The conferment of an HonRAM (Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music) in 1993 - the Academy's highest honour ( other recipients were Itzhak Perlman, Alfred Schnittke and Leonard Slatkin) is testimony enough to Owen Murray´s success on the concert platform and pays tribute to the success with which he has fully integrated the accordion into the life and work of one of the worlds leading music conservatories. Past recipients of the HonRAM have included Vladimir Ashkenhazy, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Yehudi Menuhin, Claudio Abbado, Pablo Casals, José Carreras and Olivier Messiaen.
Owen Murray has performed with many leading orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis, Mark Elder, ( 1998 Proms.) Martyn Brabbins and Jiri Belohlavek. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The London Philharmonic Orchestra. The Glyndebourne Opera Touring Orchestra under Elgarth Howarth. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The SWF Sinfonieorchestra Baden-Baden. The Goldberg Ensemble(Manchester). The Paragon Ensemble (Glasgow) and the Royal Academy of Music Orchestra under Lynn Harrell.
Owen Murray has performed at many leading festivals including the Edinburgh international festival, the BBC Proms. (twice), the Huddersfield contemporary music festival, the St. Magnus festival, the Glyndebourne opera summer festival, the Paris autumn festival, the Salzburg international festival and the Beijing international accordion festival. JURIES Owen Murray has been on the jury at the Klingenthal, Coupe Mondiale, Pula, Beijing and Moscow international accordion competitions.
Among his first performances have been the premiers of the concertos by John Webb, Edward McGuire, John McLeod and numerous solo works. The UK premier of Astor Piazzolla's Tres Tangos and Concerto for guitar and bandoneon. He has also performed the accordion part in the UK premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's opera The Last Supper and the world premieres of Sofia Gubaidulina's Figures of Time and Per Nørgaard's Terrains Vagues.
"Owen Murray´s playing of the instrument was poetically poised and dramatically gutsy….captivating." The Times (Gubaidulina's Seven Words. St John Smith's Square, London)

" A revelation!" Sunday Standard (Glasgow Mayfest International Festival)

" Not only a formidable instrumental technique, but also the rare quality of a gentle and intensely musical approach---a degree of musical and technical accomplishment which was never short of breathtaking." Edinburgh Evening News (Edinburgh International Festival)

" Unquestionably the finest player and teacher in Britain. Can be compared to Segovia for his supreme virtuosity and also for his success in demonstrating the great potential of an undervalued instrument." The Times (St. Magnus Festival, Orkney)
Concerts: artists@dennylyster.co.uk Teaching: o.murray@ram.ac.uk

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