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Arts and Entertainment
Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Making Music in His Mind

  Music is a form of storytelling, even when there are no words. For composer Dr. Michael F. Murray, his most intriguing projects have been inspired by his passion for poetry.

“There might be images or moods or characters that are suggested by the poetry, and I try to reflect that in the music I write,” said Murray. His piece “Tempest Fantasy,” on the CD “Spellbound” which was released by Navona in 2013 was recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra based in Olomouc, Czech Republic. But its original iteration was vocal music Murray composed for a Missouri State production of Shakespeare’s "The Tempest."

Murray composes all the time – sometimes taking four months on one piece – and plans to have an all vocal music CD released in early 2015. It will include pieces for solo voice accompanied by various orchestral and chamber instrumental combinations. Through New Music USA, he hopes to gain funding to assist in the travel costs associated with recording in the Czech Republic in summer 2014.

But he knows he’s one of the lucky ones.

“The biggest challenge for the composer is to get their music performed. This is especially true with orchestra. New music is not performed often,” said Murray. Many local and regional symphonies perform only one piece by a living composer during the course of a year. Instead, they tend to select primarily standard classical pieces from well-established composers. “There is not a lot of opportunity. To get performances of those types of pieces is very difficult.”

Listen to his full interview.