Arts & Culture

Musician participates in emerging composers program

By Hannah Scott

Published 3:32 PDT, Thu June 30, 2022

Last Updated: 12:30 PDT, Mon July 18, 2022

Grade 11 student Emma Murray plays a multitude of instruments. And that passion for music has further led to her original composition “That’s One Cool Dinosaur” being played by the Hard Rubber Orchestra jazz band as part of its emerging composers program.

“I have been playing music since I was nine years old,” says Murray. “My primary instrument is the double bass, but I also play the trombone as my secondary instrument and I can play almost all the instruments in a jazz band or concert band.”

Murray didn’t apply to participate in the emerging composers program herself—her band director at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music, Daniel Hersog, sent in her composition, which was eventually selected.

“It was a really amazing experience to be able to have my original composition played by professional musicians, as well as get composition lessons with (Montreal-based saxophonist and composer) Christine Jensen and (Vancouver bandleader, composer, and arranger) Jill Townsend who are very accomplished musicians and composers,” says Murray.

Murray adds that she likes music as a form of self-expression, creating a product that she and others can enjoy.

“Some advice I have received that has stuck with me is to not let go of anything music-related that you like to do, so that you always have many options open for yourself,” says Murray. “I love learning new instruments, and composing and arranging, as well as playing my primary instrument the double bass. Because I have continued to do all of those things, I often have many opportunities to play and be involved in musical events.”

Murray’s music teacher Kristian Naso says Murray was the youngest of the group of emerging composers selected by Hard Rubber Orchestra director John Korsrud to participate in the event. 

“In addition to writing her own compositions for various types of ensembles, Emma has done arrangements for jazz big band, brass quintet, and choir,” says Naso. “Her combination of a strong work ethic and a need to know (things) will certainly serve her well as she pursues her musical potential. Emma plans to audition for McGill’s acclaimed jazz program and hopes to study there once she’s graduated from high school.”

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