Unlike many exceptionally talented children, Craig Murray wasn’t sure he’d study music in college. “Until I was accepted to a summer program at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music after my sophomore year, I didn’t realize I could.” This fall, he’ll be majoring in piano performance at Vanderbilt University’s prestigious Blair School of Music, on a full tuition scholarship.
Craig has amassed an impressive list of regional and national competition wins over the last six years: National Gold Medal in the NAACP ACT-SO Competition, 5-time winner of Westchester Musicians Guild Young Artists Auditions, winner of the Award for Artistic Excellence at the Claudette Sorel Piano Competition, and winner of the Long Island Conservatory of Music Soloist Competition, Young Bronx Artist Competition, and Piano Teachers Congress Honors Program Recital. Craig has played at both Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall, and in 2018 was featured on WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase.
On Saturdays, the Horace Mann senior teaches piano to children from communities underserved by arts programs, motivated by a goal to make music more accessible to everyone.
Craig’s mother, Gerene Rose, a nurse-anesthetist at Memorial Sloan Kettering, points out that giving back is important to Craig. Since the age of 9, he has been studying at the Conservatory through scholarships and work study.
Craig’s teacher is Marija Ilic, who says: "Craig Murray is a truly special young musician. He possesses a real gift for melody, charisma, and dramatic force. He communicates with his listeners in an honest and direct way, and the audience is always touched. I'm thrilled about his successes (but not surprised)! Vanderbilt University will be a perfect place for Craig."
Craig credits Marija with “teaching me to think beyond technique, to focus on phrasing and communication to take my playing to the next level.” He says his mom has supplied “tremendous support and great insight from a listener’s point of view.”
While Craig is excited to be in the music capital of Nashville and meet new people, he notes his many connections to Concordia and the strong sense of community he has experienced here. “I’ll be leaving Concordia physically, but not in spirit.”
Concordia Conservatory Executive Director Kathleen Suss said: “Craig is just the kind of student our merit scholarships are designed for. His immense talent and impressive work ethic will go on to make a big impact in whatever aspect of music he applies himself to. On behalf of the entire Conservatory and Concordia College, I am very proud to have had a hand in nurturing Craig’s career.”