With music described as “breathtaking” (Kitchener-Waterloo Record), “imaginative and expressive” (The National Post), “a pulse-pounding barrage on the senses” (The Globe and Mail), and “Bartok on steroids” (Birmingham News), composer Kelly-Marie Murphy “is an exciting and imaginative composer, much in demand especially in her native Canada and deservedly so” (New York Concert Review). She has created a number of memorable works for some of Canada’s leading performers and ensembles, including the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, The Gryphon Trio, James Campbell, Shauna Rolston, the Cecilia and Afiara String Quartets, and Judy Loman.
More about Kelly…
- set of vignettes for Calgary Opera Emerging Artists with librettist, Paula Wing, February 2021
- double concerto for piano and percussion, SHHhh Ensemble
- solo piano piece for David Jalbert, October 2021
- concerto for The Cowan-Cicchillitti Duo and string orchestra
- triple concerto for Trio Sora and Radio France Orchestra
- Lafayette String Quartet
- oboe sonata
- SATB choir
On Rethinking Heroism in the 21st Century…
Murphy’s scores never fail for rhythmic interest (something like the music of John Adams), and that was the case here. She has, over the years, developed a consistent musical personality and style, and it is one that, with a certain eclecticism, works well in today’s musical environment. Technically accomplished and showing strong developmental direction as it went on, this was an engaging piece by one of the most interesting mid-career Canadian composers, and one suitable for our ambivalent feelings about all things heroic in manner.
– Michele Jarvie, The Calgary Herald
En el Escuro es Todo Uno…
Kelly-Marie Murphy understands – indeed embraces – the implicit compact between composer, performer, and audience in all successful concerti. Following her spectacular Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, En el escuro es todo uno featuring the unexpected combination of cello and harp is a brilliant addition to the duo-concerto repertoire. At its core are Ladino folk materials, but this is no conventional folkloric rhapsody; rather the evocative shards of musical materials are fused into rich webs of sounds – some dramatic and rhythmic (as in the astonishingly vital second movement “Si veriash a la rana”), others are more meditative or mysterious.
Virtuosity abounds, but not in the shop-worn scale passages, endless arpeggios, or brazen double and triple stops favoured by lesser composers. Murphy demands virtuosity of colour and texture, not superficial flash. Not that the piece lacks in drive and intensity; but it keeps both those essential elements as part of an enchanted vision, a vision that evaporates into thin air when what’s to be said has been heard. The piece is a remarkable success by any standard.
–David Gordon Duke, who writes for The Vancouver Sun, The American Record Guide and Classical Voice North America
Four VSO performances include brilliant violin concerto…
…Murphy’s violin concerto shows its lineage with absolute clarity; a big virtuoso work explicitly linked to traditional values. It’s a very good piece, given an extra up-to-date lustre by its title and inspiration… the concerto works brilliantly; a rich solo part (commandingly delivered by Nicholas Wright) matched by deft orchestral writing that, however menacing, never overwhelms the soloist. This is a work that deserves the widest possible hearing, and performances by the great violinists of our day.
– David Gordon Duke, The Vancouver Sun
Borealis Quartet, Kasman generate sparks at Birmingham concert
…Kelly-Marie Murphy’s fiery, dissonant “Ashes” was a strangely appropriate segue… It exploded with glissandos and condensed into smoldering embers. A pizzicato section popped and crackled like burning logs. Yet it often drew on early 20th century quartet writing, making it sound, at times, like Bartok on steroids.
– Michael Huebner, The Birmingham News
National Youth Orchestra of Canada conducted by Jacques Lacombe: “Selections from the 2008 National Tour”, 2 CD
…”Through the Unknown, Unremembered Gate”… 8-and-a-half minutes of brooding mystery that swells through angelic spaces and into an energetic beyond.
Korea Music Foundation presents Allant Piano Trio in Review
…“Give Me Phoenix Wings to Fly,” … found the violin in a leadership role (in fact standing) through three highly expressive movements that evoked (as the Ms. Murphy describes) “fire, bleak devastation, and rebuilding.” In confrontational exchange of jagged virtuosic gestures one could easily envision the violent darting of flames, and the trio played up the drama to the hilt, as was fit. The dark second movement was haunting and beautifully connected in spirit to the Ghost Trio (ingenious programming), but all finished brilliantly with resurgence of energy in the third, as the phoenix began its rise. Ms. Murphy is an exciting and imaginative composer, much in demand especially in her native Canada and deservedly so.
Rorianne Schrade for New York Concert Review
2021 – 2022 Performances
- On Rethinking Heroism in the 21st Century (orchestra)
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Rune Bergman, September 17+18, 2021.
- A Thousand Natural Shocks (orchestra)
Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Bramwell Tovey, September 22+23, 2021.
- Smoke Darkened Sky (solo piano)
Music Toronto, David Jalbert, October 26, 2021. ***WORLD PREMIERE***
- Rains of Ash and Embers, (string orchestra)
Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Gustavo Gimeno, November 18+19, 2021.
- When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face (triple concerto)
Trio Sora and Orchestre Radio France, Mikko Franck, Paris, February 18, 2022.