Murray Gross

An award-winning composer and teacher, Murray Gross has also been honored by the American Symphony Orchestra League as one of the outstanding conductors in the nation. His compositions have been performed across the country, been broadcast over National Public Radio, and have received many honors including a Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) Award.

Dr. Gross studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, New England Conservatory and the Oberlin Conservatory. He spent two years composing and conducting in Munich, Germany, and also trained at the Pierre Monteux Domaine School and the International Bartok Festival in Hungary. Chosen by Antal Dorati in 1980 to serve as Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony, he led that orchestra in hundreds of educational, pops and community concerts. An active guest conductor on several continents, he is the former Music Director of Michigan’s West Shore Symphony, and is currently Music Director of the Alma Symphony.

His compositions have been performed by the New York New Music ensemble, the Nobilis Trio, the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, the Woodland Trio, and many other professional and collegiate ensembles. Urban Myth was recorded by the North Texas Wind Symphony, and several CDs feature his music.


Assistant Professor, Chair & Alma Symphony Orchestra Director



Educational Background

  • D.M.A., Michigan State University
  • Artist’s Certificate, Munich Conservatory (Germany)
  • M.M., Oberlin College Conservatory
  • B.M., Oberlin College Conservatory

I am...

a musician with a broad range of interests. I combine decades of professional experience with my love of teaching to prepare Alma students for a variety of careers in music.


Assistant Professor

My career at Alma began in


I'm an expert in

conducting, composition, and music theory, with a strong interest in world music and film music.

Signature course(s):

Alma Symphony Orchestra, Composition Lessons, Contemporary Music Theory, Exploring World Music

Creative work:

Chicken Salad for saxophone quartet was one of two short works performed and streamed live from a concert at the University of Wisconsin (Green Bay) on November 8, 2013.

Las calles de Buenos Aires - The Scott/Garrison Duo with Rajung Yang performed this flute, clarinet, and piano trio October 31, 2013 at the national conference of the College Music Society (Cambridge, Massachusetts).

Mulher Solitária for alto flute was performed by Dr. Tess Miller on October 27, 2013. It was also performed by flutist Maria Carolina Cavalcanti in New York City on February 10, 2013, and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on October 7, 2012.

You Must Remember This… for large orchestra, was performed at Alma College on April 20 and 21, 2013.

The Alma College Percussion Ensemble premiered John Cage Smiles, a work for nine percussionists on April 13, 2013.

Traffic, an electro-acoustic work chosen to be part of the 60x60 Environmental Mix, received its premiere on March 30, 2013, at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California. It was also heard on the opening night of the Electronic Music Midwest Festival in Kansas City, Kansas (October, 24 2013)

Under the Influence, a compact disc featuring eight chamber works by Murray Gross, was released on the Blue Griffin label in January 3013.

Most recently performed in March of 2013 at the University of Dayton, Irrational Exuberance for alto sax and piano won the 2007 Commissioned Composer Award of the Michigan Music Teachers Association, and was released in 2011 on a compact disc produced by Beauport Classical titled Irrational Exuberance

Under the Influence was played in March 2013 by the Bethel University Wind Ensemble (Kansas). This work has been performed by many collegiate groups including the Florida State University Wind Ensemble, the Wisconsin Winds (Carroll College), the Michigan State University Wind Ensemble, and at Western Illinois University.

The Revelations Sax Quartet performed Breathing Lessons at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference on March 2, 2013.

Waiting, Again, for Lady Yang has received numerous performances around the country. In 2012 this clarinet solo was played at Michigan State University by Wesley Warnhoff, and at Cedarville University by Bruce Curlette. Clarinetist Osiris Molina has performed the piece at the University of Alabama and the Alabama Music Educators Conference, as well as at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The piano trio Cries and Whispers was performed October 27, 2012 at Alma College.

Two compositions by Murray Gross were performed September 29, 2012 at the University of Wisconsin (Green Bay) - Just in Time (saxophone and percussion) and Hide and Seek (clarinet).

Urban Myth, a short animated film with soundtrack by Murray Gross, was shown at the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival on April 14, 2012. 

On March 24, 2012, a new work by Murray Gross for saxophone quartet, Breathing Lessons, was premiered at the Ball State University New Music Festival. This work was performed again on April 16, 2012.

The music of Murray Gross has been heard twice in New York City in recent months. On January 29th the Bateira Trio (flute, viola, double bass) premiered I can’t quite remember, and on February 12th Shiau-uen Ding played the piano solo Breaking the Rules.

Music history/theory/composition:

Composition and Theory