The American bass, Michael McMurray, has made Cleveland his base for a busy career in classical music performance. He was soloist for Apollos Fire in their debut Mozart Requiem in 1992 and will repeat this acclaimed performance at Severance Hall in April 2002. Other Severance Hall solo performances include Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, J.S. Bach's St. Matthew's Passion (BWV 244) and George Frideric Handel's Messiah. His operatic credits include roles with Cleveland Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Toledo, Lyric Opera of Cleveland, Opera Theater of New Mexico and Cleveland Opera Circle. An especially cherished appearance was his role as "Death" in the award-winning Cleveland Public Theater production of Vikto Ullman's rarely-mounted opera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, which was written in Theresienstadt concentration camp.
Michael McMurray has always sought ways to combine his art with his concern for humanitarian and environmental issues. His visit to the Chernobyl nuclear complex inspired his composition Chant for Chernobyl, which had it its December 2002 premiere in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is scheduled for release on the Naxos label. On the first anniversary of September 11, Michael McMurray was soloist in Mozart's Requiem, broadcast on 500 stations.