the Music Director and conductor of the Mission Chamber Orchestra
in San Jose, Emily Ray’s inspired performances are earning
her a growing reputation throughout California as an extremely gifted
and creative conductor. Her recent concerts have earned standing
ovations and enthusiastic praise from musicians and critics alike.
Prior to her term in San Jose, Ms. Ray was the Music Director of
the Nova Vista
Symphony for several years. She also conducted the Lo Sospiro
Ensemble while serving with the Hayward Area Symphony. A great advocate
for new music, throughout her career she has promoted and premiered
the works of many California composers, as well as those of composers
living in other parts of the U.S., and in England.
Ms. Ray began her musical studies at the age of 7 when she began
taking piano lessons and later studied the violin. Participating
in numerous recitals and performing groups, she continued her study
of music in college, receiving a Master of Arts degree from California
State University at Hayward after graduating with highest honors
from the University of California, Berkeley. She studied conducting
with Michael Senturia and Denis deCoteau and made her conducting
debut with the University Symphony in May 1975.
In 1996 Ms. Ray formed the Mission Chamber Orchestra and has continuously
served as Music Director and conductor. During the orchestra’s
second season, Ms. Ray and the orchestra recorded a compact disc,
Dreams, which was broadcast by radio stations across the country.
A second disc, Reflections on the Hudson, was recorded and released
in 2000. It is a part of Arizona University Recordings’ Contemporary
Composers Series, as it contains the orchestral works of Palo Alto
composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen.
In February, 2003, Ms. Ray and the Mission Chamber Orchestra premiered a cantata written by internationally recognized composer Craig Bohmler for San Jose, California. Another important work, Lee Actor’s Violin Concerto, premiered in April, 2006. Ms. Ray also conducts the orchestra at Santa Clara University, and recent guest conducting has included the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestras of Southern Alameda County, California Orchestra Directors Association string ensemble, and Winchester Orchestra of San Jose.