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John Murphree

Associate Professor of Core Studies
Affiliated Departments
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Music is an act of human expression. My role as an educator is to provide diverse opportunities for you to engage with that expression, in spaces that are safe and ultimately brave. These engagements will enable you to find paths toward a more authentic relationship with, and a deeper understanding of, the magic of music.” 

John Murphree joined the Conservatory in 2009. He is an instrument maker, theorist, performer, and composer. 

Murphree was named a fellow in arts at St. Botolph Club in 2009 for composition, and has earned commissions for performances in the United States and Europe. In 2022, he established a monthly musical concert series at a senior living facility in Malden, Massachusetts, featuring students from the Conservatory.  

In 2016, Murphree founded Boston Gongs, a percussion manufacturing business devoted to the production of high-quality bell plates, gongs, chimes, and lujons. His instruments and sound installations have been staged at the Mobius Gallery, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and are sold at exhibitions throughout New England and to ensembles and universities worldwide.

His most cherished achievement was being voted Faculty Member of the Year in 2019 by the Student Government Association. In 2021, he was named a member of the Strategic Innovation Faculty Grant project, devoted to diversifying Boston Conservatory’s academic curriculum. Murphree’s  work in this diversification initiative continues, most notably by joining the school’s Equity Partners Program in 2022.  

Murphree holds a B.M. in composition from Berklee College of Music and an M.M. in composition from Boston Conservatory. He studied metal fabrication at the School of Museum of Fine Arts under Dennis Svoronos.

Current Work

  • A series of musical coloring books dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of music theory through word-search style puzzles, connect-the-dot puzzles, and an invented form of musical Sudoku. 
  • Development of an educational series devoted to using the evolution and individual composers’ use of musical forms in Western concert music as a foil for understanding diversity outside the world of music. 
  • A critique of the ongoing tradition in music theory pedagogy to dissect and utilize musical excerpts without recognizing the unintended ill-effects that excerption might have on the source material, specifically to the cultural heritage of that source in some circumstances. This work may impact how music educators often misuse music for educational purposes.