Gary Gray: Master Player & Teacher

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I met Gary early in the millennium when he came to the university where I was teaching to present a recital and masterclass. I had the pleasure of performing with him on that recital and quickly realized why he had been such a successful musician. He was well prepared, an ideal colleague to work with, and musically engaging—a musician’s triple threat! Gary was also very encouraging about the jazz and woodwind doubling programs that I was coordinating and offered a great deal of encouragement and support throughout my years as a professor. I heard him perform at several ICA Conferences in various chamber settings and was always inspired by his seemingly effortless and thoughtful interpretations of challenging contemporary compositions. He is well respected by his colleagues throughout the industry and his many students in major orchestras and in Academia continue to reflect the decency and sophistication that stand for Gary Gray.

*It is with deep sadness that I share the passing of Gary Gray on 12/12/21. He was dearly beloved by everyone who came into contact with him and we will always miss him. RIP.

About the Artist: Gary Gray had an illustrious 50-year career as a clarinetist, saxophonist and music educator. A first-call clarinet session player in Hollywood for many decades, he was heard by millions of listeners via his work on movie scores by Thomas Newman, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, James Horner, Randy Newman, Dave Grusin, etc. in addition to television shows such as My Three Sons, Jag, The Simpsons, and 100 Centre Street. A former member of both the Kansas City Philharmonic and St. Louis Symphony, Gary was also active throughout his west coast career as a chamber musician. He was principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; a founding member of the Pacific Serenades; a faculty artist at the Aspen Music Festival for many years; and an active participant in chamber festivals in the U.S., England, Japan and France. Gary recorded as a soloist including concerti by Copland Rossini, Arnold, and Lutoslawski as well as sonatas by Debussy, Poulenc, Saint-Saens, Bernstein, Martinu, and Arnold. He also premiered and recorded many contemporary composers works. Equally important was his work as a teacher over the years. Gary had been on the faculties of the Aspen Music Festival, Henry Mancini Summer Institute, and was a Professor of Music Emeritus at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where he taught clarinet and woodwind chamber music. A concert celebrating Gary’s 50 years as a UCLA professor was presented on 10/12/19 at the university. A great deal more can be learned about this wonderful artist and his achievements at:


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