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Head of Classical Accordion

Owen Murray GRAM, Dip RAM (Copenhagen), Hon RAM

Born in the UK, studied with Mogens Ellegaard at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, graduating with the Music Teacher Education, principal subject accordion in 1980 and the Diploma (Soloist) in 1982. Many recitals both in the UK and overseas. Pioneering founder of the Academy’s Accordion department, Head of Classical Accordion since 1986, awarded an Hon RAM in 1993.

Photo: Owen Murray (left) with visiting professor Friedrich Lips.

The Academy was the first British conservatoire to introduce teaching for the classical accordion. The specialist curriculum complements other courses and includes masterclasses, performance practice, accordion history, repertory, instrument maintenance and art of teaching classes.

The accordion is thoroughly integrated into the life and work of the Academy through a strong and wide-ranging chamber music programme. The response of contemporary composers to the instrument’s emergence is reflected in continuing collaborations with composition students and established composers.

Apart from many concert opportunities within the Academy, accordion students have performed at leading music festivals in the UK and abroad. In 1998 the entire accordion department made its Proms début with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2006, three students and Owen Murray were invited by György Kurtág to perform at his 80th birthday celebration concert in Budapest. Academy accordion students have enjoyed considerable success in major competitions. Distinguished accordionists who have given concerts and masterclasses at the Academy include Inaki Alberdi, Friedrich Lips, Matti Rantanen, Mie Miki, Viascheslav Semionov, Oleg Sharov, Peter Soave and Mika Vayrynen.

The Teachers Owen Murray GRAM, Dip RAM (Copenhagen), Hon RAM

Visiting Professor Friedrich Lips (Moscow), Hon ARAM

‘Murray is an inspirational teacher’ The Times, January 2007


The Derek Butler Prize is contested by postgraduate students nominated by each of London’s four conservatoires. Milos Milivojevic won the 2008 final at Wigmore Hall:

‘Milivojevic’s artistry on the humble button accordion took the breath away — indeed, his coruscating transcription of an organ chorale by Mendelssohn made one almost wonder whether we actually need those thundering giants. I’d put money on this brilliant young performer opening a whole range of new musical worlds’ The Independent, March 2008

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2010–2011 Highlights Current student Ksenija Sidorova’s recent successes have included performances at the Lucerne Chamber Music Festival with the guitarist Miloš Karadaglic´. Her recording of Mozart’s Twelve Variations is featured on the Academy’s release ‘Premier Prix: celebrating the virtuoso’. Current student Rafal Luc gave a concert tour in the USA, including performances at Berkeley College and Carnegie Hall. He was also a recent finalist in the Royal Academy of Music Patrons’ Award, held in Wigmore Hall, and reached the chamber music section final of the Royal Over-Seas League. Current student Martynas Levickis won the piano accordion soloists’ section at the CIA Coupe Mondiale (World Accordion Championships) in Varaždin, Croatia Former student Amadej Herzog won the R.A.M. Club Prize, giving a prize winner’s recital in April 2011. Accordion students take part in many festival concerts both in the UK and abroad. In December 2010, Owen Murray became the first Briton to be awarded the prestigious ’Silver Disk’ for special accomplishments in the field of accordion culture.

Department Administrator: Karen Ingram BA, Hon ARAM Telephone 020 7873 7380 Email Open Day: please contact us for an individual appointment

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