Thomas Murray

Categories: IPYA Winners

Thomas Murray, concert organist and recording artist, is University Organist and Professor of Music at Yale University, where he teaches and performs on the renowned Skinner organ in Woolsey Hall. Widely known for his interpretations of Romantic repertoire and orchestral transcriptions, his recordings (on Gothic, Arkay, Priory and other labels) are highly acclaimed. High Fidelity has credited him with “. . . consummate skill and artistry in treating the organ as a great orchestra” and American Record Guide said of his newly-released Elgar CD: “Murray’s performance and his handling of the immense resources of the Woolsey Hall organ are beyond superlatives . . . the shape of every phrase, the use of every color . . . could not be more perfect.”

A California native, Professor Murray’s major teacher in organ was Clarence Mader. As a young performer he was a first-place winner of the American Guild of Organists national competition. He has appeared in recitals and lectures at six national conventions of the A.G.O., which named him International Artist of the Year for 1986. As the recipient of this award he followed such luminaries as Marie-Claire Alain, Jean Guillou and Dame Gillian Weir.

His career is increasingly international in scope. His first performance in Japan came in 1990 with a recital at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Among his appearances in Europe have been recitals at the International Congress of Organists in Cambridge (1987) and the Lahti Organ Festival in Finland (1996), where he also performed with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. In 1993 he appeared for the first time in South America in two recitals for the Festival Permanente de Organo de Buenos Aires; in 1994 he was presented in master classes and four solo recitals in Australia, where his engagements included a recital on the famous organ of Sydney Town hall.

At times during his career Professor Murray has also been active as a choral conductor. Prior to joining the Yale faculty in 1981 he trained one of the most respected American choirs of men and boys at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Boston. At Yale he directed the University Choir for five years.

Professor Murray has made numerous recordings on the AFKA, Gothic, and JAV Labels. His most recent release for JAV is a 2-CD set performed on the Newberry Memorial Organ in Woolsey Hall at Yale University. This monumental recording includes a varied program of works by Bach, Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Reger, Hindemith, Bonnet, Karg-Elert, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Also included on the disc is a narrated introduction to the organ in which Mr. Murray leads the listener through the various departments of the Woolsey Hall organ, and demonstrates the many tonal colors that are possible on that historic instrument.

Thomas Murray’s recital for the International Performer of the Year Award was at The Cathedral Church of Saint John Divine.

Click here to see the actual program with notes. (PDF)