In Memoriam Emma Murphy – 26/8/22

I heard of Emma’s untimely passing on the final evening of the Irish Recorder and Viol Course which she loved so much, and on which she should have been teaching, but for the ill health which had dogged her all this year.

We were sitting down for high tea, to celebrate our 50th course, but first we were going to video a shout out to Emma, with the whole course saying “Miss you, Emma, get well soon!”. I was called to the phone and instead of celebration, I returned to the dining room to tell the course (many of whose members had known Emma most of her life) that she had passed away.

The shock was palpable and terrible. Emma was hugely admired as a musician, but she was also loved by all who knew her. She first came to the Irish course as a schoolgirl, already an immensely talented oboist, singer and recorder player. By far the best player on the course, she nonetheless took part in every activity with apparent enjoyment, regardless of the abilities of the other participants.

She was then as ever since, a joy to play music with and to be with. I was privileged to be Emma’s teacher, before and during her undergraduate years at Birmingham University where she excelled, and in her postgraduate studies at Trinity College. I may perhaps have helped her along the way, but her radiant musicianship and her ability to communicate as a performer were hers, and hers alone.

We will all miss Emma terribly, but our loss is nothing to that of her family: her children Eliza and Feargus, her husband Alex, her father Conn and mother Eimear with whom she had a special emotional and musical bond. We thank them for sharing Emma, and offer them our profound and sincere condolences.

Philip Thorby

Last updated 10 October 2022