Originally from suburban Maryland, Michael Murray currently lives in Springfield, Missouri, where he teaches composition and music theory at Missouri State University. He earned a BM in composition from the Catholic University of America and both the MM and DMA in composition from the University of Cincinnatis College-Conservatory of Music, where his teachers included Allen Sapp and Frederick Bianchi. Before coming to MSU in 1997, Dr. Murray taught on the faculties of Loyola University New Orleans and Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas
His music has been described as "well crafted," "expertly and adroitly handled," and consisting of "pleasing washes of sounds and tone colors." Performances of his compositions have taken place throughout the United States, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. He has won awards and grants from, among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, Pi Kappa Lambda, and the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs. Among his commissions are those from the Missouri Chamber Players, 13th Street Gallery (Omaha), and the music fraternities of Missouri State University. In addition to works for the concert hall, he has written music for film, theater productions, dance, and visual arts installations.
His music and sound design for Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice was featured in the International Prague Quadrennial Scenofest exhibition of theater design. The Wild Winds Weep, a set of songs for soprano, horn, and piano, was given its world premiere performance at the Bergen (Norway) Festival. His intense interest in and work with traditional music of the Ozark region of southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas has been subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) influencing his compositions for a number of years.