Gary Gray studied clarinet with Robert McGinnis and chamber music with Janos Starker at Indiana University, where he obtained his Master’s degree in Woodwinds. He also studied clarinet with Mitchell Lurie at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. He was Assistant Principal in the St. Louis Symphony and later won first prize in the San Francisco Symphony Foundation Competition. Mr. Gray is Principal Clarinetist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Faculty Artist/Clarinet Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.
His concerto appearances include the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Aspen Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony, among others; and he has collaborated with Aaron Copland, Elliot Carter, Benjamin Britten, Malcolm Arnold, Pierre Boulez and Igor Stravinsky.
For many summers a Faculty Artist at the Aspen Music Festival, Gray is active in chamber music festivals in the U.S., England, France and Japan, and has performed with such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Mischa Dichter, James Levine, Brooks Smith, Milton Thomas and the Cleveland and Angeles Quartets. He has recorded both solo and chamber music for the Nonesuch, RCA, Laureland Vox labels, and has given Master Classes at USC, San Francisco State College and the Royal College of Music, London, among others.
Gray has been a member/performer of the Pacific Serenades chamber music series since its inception in Los Angeles 15 years ago, and performed with them at Carnegie Hall in 1994. He has also concertized with the Tchaikovsky Trio in Belgium and at the Festival de Musique Française de Laon in Laon, France. The Francesco Trio invited Mr. Gray to perform at UC Berkeley in 1996 and they will collaborate again in the near future. His concert on the Los Angeles County Art Museum’s Music Series in 1999 with Mark Kaplan/violin, Ronald Leonard/cello and Walter Ponce/piano included music of Beethoven, Ravel and Messiaen.
His album of solo concerti, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1989 in the category of Best Soloist with Orchestra. This was only the second time in Grammy history that a clarinet album received such a nomination. The solo CD includes works of Copland, Rossini, Arnold and Lutoslawski. Mr. Gray’s album of clarinet/piano music, was recorded in London with Clifford Benson, and includes works of Debussy, Saint-Saens, Martinu, Bernstein, Poulenc and Arnold; both CDs are available on the Centaur label.
Ned Rorem’s Double Concerto for violin/clarinet title “Water Music” was recorded for BMG Records by Margaret Batjer, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Mr. Mr. Gray in 1999. This CD of Rorem’s music featuring Brian Asawa was conducted by LACO’s Music Director, Jeffrey Kahane, and was released in 2000. During the summer of 2000 Mr. Gray was invited to perform with Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, where he shared the clarinet duties with its director, David Shifrin. During the summer of 2001 he was invited to be the Featured Artist at the West Coast Clarinet Congress at CSU Fresno and in May 2002 performed with the New Hollywood String Quartet at the Sedona Chamber Music Festival.
During his long career in Hollywood, Gray has recorded film and television scores with such composer/conductors as: John Wiliams, Jerry Goldsmith, Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, James Horner, Shirley Walker, Randy Newman, Christopher Young, Elmer Bernstein and Alf Clausen, among many others. Some of his recent projects have included: “Finding Nemo” with Thomas Newman and “Matrix 1, 2 and 3” with Don Davis.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“Gary Gray handled the clarinet solos with stunning ease and as mellow and gorgeous a sound as may be possible on that instrument.” – Daniel Cariaga
“The composer gave a clarinetist of Gray’s caliber ample opportunity to float long, limber lines, which he did with effortless poise and eloquent point.” – John Henken
“The happy peak of this concert was Gray’s effortless, elegant and energetic playing of the Copland Clarinet Concerto.” – Daniel Cariaga
“In Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ Gary Gray astonished with his liquid clarinet solos.” – Mark Swed
Read more about Gary by visiting his website at: http://www.clarinetbygray.com/index.html