Murray Forbes Somerville


Murray Forbes Somerville is Artistic Director Emeritus of Nashville’s Music City Baroque (which he founded), and most recently served as Interim Director of Music at Grace Church in Charleston, SC. Born in London and raised in Africa, he studied in Germany under Karl Richter, at Oxford as Organ Scholar of New College under Sir David Lumsden, and in the US with Robert Baker and William Porter; his doctorate is from New England Conservatory.

He served parishes in West Hartford, CT, and Orlando, FL, before becoming for thirteen years University Organist and Choirmaster at Harvard. At the Cathedral of St. Luke in Orlando, he founded the Orlando Deanery Boychoir and directed the Winter Park Bach Festival; at Harvard he founded the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, and led the University Choir on several international tours and many commercial CDs.

He has conducted orchestras such as the Bournemouth, Nashville and Florida Symphonies; his recital career has taken him to Westminster Abbey, King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, many English Cathedrals, across the US, and several historic instruments in Germany. His widely praised organ CD’s, including two Bach albums on the famous Flentrop in Adolphus Busch Hall in Cambridge, MA, also comprise music of French, English and American composers, one being a disc devoted to the music of his Harvard predecessor John Knowles Paine, featuring several unpublished works. Earlier this summer, he was soloist and continuo player in music of Handel and Dvorak with Chamber Music Charleston, for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.