The Scottish pianist, Murray McLachlan, studied at Manchester's Chetham's School of Music (where he would return years later as a faculty member) and at Cambridge University. In 1985 he began studies with eminent British pianist Peter Katin. McLachlan made his television debut in Holland in 1987 playing the Sergei Rachmaninov Second Piano Concerto as part of a young musician's series.
Prolific in the recording studio and ever-busy on the concert stage and as a teacher, Murray McLachlan is recognized as one of the finest pianists from the UK of his generation. As a concert artist he has received outstanding critical acclaim for intelligent and sensitive interpretations and superb technical ability. Early in his career he became known for his insightful performances of Russian piano music. He cut his first recording for Olympia, a CD of works by Myaskovsky that was released in 1988, with favorable critical response. He recorded the Prokofiev sonatas in 1988-1989 for the same label, a set that also drew positive notice. He also recorded several discs of works by Myaskovsky, Khachaturian, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Rodion Shchedrin, Alexander Tcherepnin, Vainberg, and others. But he soon divulged his versatility in a range of repertory: J.S. Bach, Mozart, L.v. Beethoven (complete piano sonatas), Johannes Brahms (complete solo works), Chopin, Gershwin, and modern composers like Ronald Stevenson, Michael Parkin, and Martin Butler.
His repertoire includes over 40 concertos and he has appeared as concerto soloist with many leading UK orchestra, performing in top concert venues from the north of Scotland to London. During the 1998-1999 season he appeared as concerto soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Barbican Centre ), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Philharmonic Hall), Hallé Orchestra (Bridgewater Hall), Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Royal Concert Hall), London Concert Orchestra (Symphony Hall), Manchester Concert Orchestra (Bridgewater Hall), the Lakeland Sinfonia and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. He gave the last concerto performance in the Albert Hall of the 20th century when he played Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue on December 31 at the 'Millennium Proms' with the BBC Concert Orchestra under Christopher Warren-Green. Many composers have specially written works for him, including Michael Parkin, whose Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was first performed by McLachlan during the 1999 Aberystwyth International Music Festival.
Throughout the 1990’s and into the new century, Murray McLachlan made numerous concert tours of the UK. His recognition has been far-reaching, bringing many invitations to perform abroad. His overseas engagements have included recitals in the USA, Scandinavia and South Africa, as well as tours of the Soviet Union, , Poland , Byelorussia, Germany, Belgium, Holland, and the Far East. In 1997 he was awarded a knighthood by the Order of St John of Jerusalem in recognition of his services to music in Malta. During the 1997-1998 season he gave a remarkable series of 50 Chopin recitals featuring the four Ballades for the benefit of the Marie Curie Cancer Fund's Golden Jubilee. He has given tours for North West Arts, the Scottish Arts Council and the British Council. Broadcasts include recitals, concertos and chamber music for the BBC as well as Classic FM, and recordings of Russian repertoire for Dutch and Belarusian television. During the 2000-2001 season, McLachlan made his conducting debut (in period dress) leading the Mozart Festival Orchestra in an acclaimed series of 18 concerts throughout the UK.
In 2003 Murray McLachlan delivered another marathon-like event when he played the 32 piano sonatas of L.v. Beethoven in a series of concerts in Manchester, once again drawing high praise. His Wigmore Hall recital on January 4, 2004, when he presented an incredibly challenging programme of modern music,was a triumph of virtuosity and received the following comments: "you couldn't ask for a more bracing musical start to the new year" (The Times) and "thrilling... electrifying... " (The Scotsman). In 2004 his Wigmore Hall Erik Chisholm Centenary Recital and subsequent national tour attracted superlatives in the national press. In 2006 he launched another series of celebrated concerts, this time to mark the Dmitri Shostakovich centenary, playing seldom-performed works like the two piano sonatas. His intense schedule continued this year with a ‘Shostakovich Centenary Recital tour’, sponsored by the UK Shostakovich Society and including 15 concerts all over the UK. This included a return to the Wigmore Hall in September.
Murray McLachlan has made over 40 recordings for several labels, including Olympia, Divine Art, Claremont, Redbrook and Linn Records. His prolific discography has received long-standing international recognition. Apart from the Russian music, made mostly early in gis career, his discography also includes music by Hamish MacCunn and a concerto based on sketches left by Grieg for a second piano concerto. He also released a cross-over album with jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith. Among McLachlan's later recordings was the 2006 release on Regis Records of Piano Music of Scotland, a disc featuring works by Ronald Stevenson (a former teacher of McLachlan), F.G. Scott, and Ronald Center. He has given first performances of works by many composers, including Jeremy Thurlow, Ronald Stevenson, Charles Camilleri, Michael Parkin, and even L.v. Beethoven. Recordings of contemporary music have won numerous accolades, including full star ratings, as well as ‘rosette’ and ‘key recording’ status in the latest Penguin Guide to CDs, and ‘Disc of the month’ and ‘Record of the month’in ‘Music on the web’ and The Herald. His recording of John McLeod's Piano Music was selected as Record of the Week in the Glasgow Herald and his recording of 'Piano Music from Scotland' was awarded a rosette in the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs.
Murray McLachlan is Head of keyboard at Chetham’s school of Music and tutor at the Royal Northern College of Musc in Manchester, as well as Artistic Director of the Chetham’s International Summer school and festival for Pianists, an event which attracts outstanding musicians annually from all over the world. He also regularly gives master-classes around the UK.