June 5, 2019


On asking Murray why he decided to play the accordion, after some slightly ironic remarks, he looks somewhat baffled and replies: “it’s kind of like asking why did you learn to walk?”

Facetious as that may sound, his genuine sentiment is that he has been playing the accordion for so long that it feels as natural as any other facet of his existence – which goes someway to explaining his impressive flexibility of style – crossing boundaries across the musical spectrum from traditional, through classical and jazz, to commercial and popular music.

Performing is a creative outlet for Murray that has taken him from performing in the BBC Proms to the Glastonbury green fields, and he is now established as one of Britain’s most influential and innovative accordionists. After studying at the Royal Academy of Music with Professor Owen Murray, he gained experience both as a solo performer and with many orchestras and chamber groups, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Scottish Ballet, Opera North and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Working as a session musician for the BBC, ABC TV and Warner Brothers has expanded his already exceptional ability to move between genres. His performances have led to numerous visits to European countries and across half the world to China. He has collaborated with composers creating new works for the instrument; he has also given world premiers of works by composers such as Jonathon Dove, Eddie McGuire and Gerhard Stäbler. As an accomplished player of both piano and button key accordions (as well as the bandoneon and the accordina) Murray is a renowned exponent of the modern accordion; he moves effortlessly not just between instruments, but between a variety of genres, from traditional, through classical and jazz to commercial and popular music.

Murray is respected in the field of education and teaches at Halsway Manor, Hands on Music in Witney and many other workshops. He has previously been head of accordion studies at Chetham’s School of Music, and has been a guest tutor numerous universities and Traditional Music projects. He has written two ‘tune books’ for the accordion, one of which was published by Schott World Music and has become a valuable educational resource. As a music engineer, he regularly produces successful albums, one of the most recent being The Baroque Bohemians, Red Priest, which topped the classical charts.

Murray is well established as a traditional folk player, playing at popular festivals around the UK and abroad: Celtic Connections, Sidmouth International Folk Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Cheltenham Folk Festival, Wilderness Festival, Glastonbury, Lorient Festival Interceltique, and Folk Est Festival Italy. He has collaborated with many of the world’s top performers, such as Cormac Byrne, Piers Adams, Adam Summerhayes, , Miranda Sykes and Martin Allcock. As a “hugely experienced musician” (Folk Ace, Kennet Radio) his contribution to the new project Dodo Street Band continues to push established boundaries to the limit: “high-ABV insanity from accordion master Murray Grainger”. He also performs with Captain of the Lost Waves and has recently recorded and produced his new album: “Murray Grainger – hypnotically irresistible and indulgently artistic” (cdbaby). His powerful new duo with Adam Summerhayes, The Ciderhouse Rebellion, combines their dynamic and rebellious approach to music with haunting melodies to produce an entirely new kind of sound.