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Renowned Kensington harpsichordist killed after being struck by taxi in Vienna

Gordon Murray on a visit to P.E.I.
Gordon Murray on a visit to P.E.I.

Renowned harpsichordist and Kensington native Gordon Murray was killed when he was struck by a taxi in Austria on March 12.

Murray, 68, had been living in Vienna with his wife, Ann, for almost 40 years.

The Express, a news outlet in England, reported that the taxi hit Murray and a British friend as he was walking her to her front door in the Landstrasse area.

Murray died instantly.

The 89-year-old woman later died in hospital.

Murray, his wife, and their friend were in a taxi on their way back from an event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Vienna.

When the musician got out to escort the British woman to her front door another taxi turned into the street and drove into the two of them.

Murray’s wife was inside their taxi with the driver at the time of the incident.

A police spokesman in Vienna said Murray’s wife and their driver both needed psychological treatment.

Police are still investigating the fatalities.

The Kensington High School graduate, who began to play the piano as a toddler, studied music at Mount Allison and McGill universities. In 1971, a Canada Council grant gave him the opportunity to study organ and harpsichord in Paris and Belgium.

Murray was a professor at the University of Music in Graz from 1982 and in Vienna from 1985 until his retirement last September. He hosted master classes across Europe and has acted as adjudicator in music competitions in Bruges and Bologna.

Mollie Cooke, who attended high school in Kensington with Murray, remembers him as being kind and down to earth.

“He was a wonderful guy, a total step ahead of the rest of us. He was helpful to everyone and always willing to lend a hand if someone needed extra help with schoolwork or needed something explained,” said Cooke.

Nancy Rogerson, who had been close friends with Murray since pre-school age, remembers playing her first musical duet with him.

“I think we were five or six. In the middle of the performance I stumbled a little and I remember him being really upset about it. But then the adjudicator came and told us we got extra points for my recovery, which put him at ease,” she said with a laugh.

She compared her friend to author Rudyard Kipling, who “walked with the kings but never lost the common touch. He (Murray) would travel the world but still be at home in my sun room with a cup of coffee,” she added.

A celebration of his life will take place at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, on April 21. A Canadian commemoration will be planned for summer 2017.

For the full Express report on the incident, click here.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was revised for clarity - March 21, 2017

Murray, 68, had been living in Vienna with his wife, Ann, for almost 40 years.

The Express, a news outlet in England, reported that the taxi hit Murray and a British friend as he was walking her to her front door in the Landstrasse area.

Murray died instantly.

The 89-year-old woman later died in hospital.

Murray, his wife, and their friend were in a taxi on their way back from an event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Vienna.

When the musician got out to escort the British woman to her front door another taxi turned into the street and drove into the two of them.

Murray’s wife was inside their taxi with the driver at the time of the incident.

A police spokesman in Vienna said Murray’s wife and their driver both needed psychological treatment.

Police are still investigating the fatalities.

The Kensington High School graduate, who began to play the piano as a toddler, studied music at Mount Allison and McGill universities. In 1971, a Canada Council grant gave him the opportunity to study organ and harpsichord in Paris and Belgium.

Murray was a professor at the University of Music in Graz from 1982 and in Vienna from 1985 until his retirement last September. He hosted master classes across Europe and has acted as adjudicator in music competitions in Bruges and Bologna.

Mollie Cooke, who attended high school in Kensington with Murray, remembers him as being kind and down to earth.

“He was a wonderful guy, a total step ahead of the rest of us. He was helpful to everyone and always willing to lend a hand if someone needed extra help with schoolwork or needed something explained,” said Cooke.

Nancy Rogerson, who had been close friends with Murray since pre-school age, remembers playing her first musical duet with him.

“I think we were five or six. In the middle of the performance I stumbled a little and I remember him being really upset about it. But then the adjudicator came and told us we got extra points for my recovery, which put him at ease,” she said with a laugh.

She compared her friend to author Rudyard Kipling, who “walked with the kings but never lost the common touch. He (Murray) would travel the world but still be at home in my sun room with a cup of coffee,” she added.

A celebration of his life will take place at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, on April 21. A Canadian commemoration will be planned for summer 2017.

For the full Express report on the incident, click here.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was revised for clarity - March 21, 2017

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