Noted international New Zealand born clarinetist and RNZ contributor Murray Khouri has died.
According to Slipped Disc, Khouri died Friday night, in New South Wales, two weeks after undergoing heart surgery. He was in his late 70s.
Khouri was born in Wellington and performed both with the NZSO Youth Orchestra and the NZSO. He was 16 when he joined the Youth Orchestra in 1959 – the year it was established.
In his early years Khouri studied at London’s Royal College of Music and made his solo debut at Wigmore Hall in Matyas Seiber's Clarinet Concertino.
Following his formal education, he performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Ballet Orchestra and Prague Metropolitan Orchestra and was led by some well-known conductors including Leopold Stokowski, Pierre Boulez, Georg Solti, Bernard Haitink, Adrian Boult, and Eugen Jochum.
Khouri was also the principal in the NZBC Concert Orchestra then the NZBC Symphony and also performed concertos Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the City of Birmingham Symphony.
He was also interested in chamber music, turning his attention to the format in the mid-70s when he returned to the antipodes. He formed the Australian Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Australia Ensemble, the latter toured the world.
Khouri was also a dedicated broadcaster, reviewer and writer, contributing work to the BBC, Slipped Disc and RNZ.
In New Zealand he created programmes exploring all the great conductors he’d worked with and a series explaining the instruments in the orchestra. He also did numerous reviews of live and recorded performances.
Khouri also founded the Spring Festival concert series in Whanganui in 2008.
In later life he split his time between Wellington and Australia.