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February 5, 2024

The MSM Community mourns the loss of faculty member Thomas Muraco

Thomas Muraco, MSM Collaborative Piano faculty member for more than 30 years.

Dear MSM Family,

We write with heartbreaking news that our longtime faculty colleague and friend Thomas Muraco passed away on Saturday, February 3, 2024 after a sudden illness. He was surrounded by his sister Lorraine, partner Thomas, and close friends and colleagues.

Tom, who joined the MSM faculty in 1993, served as a member of MSM’s Collaborative Piano faculty, a Vocal Coach, and taught numerous students enrolled in his French Diction, Recitative, and other courses. In addition to his faculty responsibilities, he led master classes, frequently performed with faculty colleagues and students, and led performances, including Collaborative Piano-Vocal Seminar programs and Opera Repertoire Ensemble (ORE). Tom contributed time and service to MSM, including being a current and long-serving member of the Faculty Council.

While Tom’s many accomplishments are enumerated in his bio, included at the end of this message, we share the words of three voice alumni who wrote tributes to Tom as they reflect on the impact he had on their lives.

Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17)

Maestro Tom Muraco epitomized selflessness, generosity, talent, humor, compassion, and love—a truly extraordinary individual. His unwavering dedication to classical music and the perpetuation of this exquisite art form was unparalleled. As a student under his tutelage at MSM, he made a commitment to always offer his guidance in times of need—a promise he not only kept but extended beyond my graduation, providing enduring coaching, counsel, inspiration, support, and encouragement. It is widely acknowledged that the caliber of a school is intricately linked to the excellence of its educators, and MSM, enriched by luminaries like Tom Muraco, stands as one of the most profound blessings in my life.

Raehann Bryce-Davis (MM ’12, PS ’13)

What we artists need most are people who are willing to fight for us. Fight for our skills, our development, our safety, our joy, our success. Those of us who worked with Tom Muraco found this person.  It didn’t matter what the obstacle was, with a smile and a witty joke, Tom went to bat for us every single day.  I’m grateful to be part of his legacy of artists who benefited from his consummate knowledge, his artistry, and his friendship.

Joo Won Kang (MM ’11)

It was just recently that I had an unforgettable recital with Tom. It was definitely my dream come true. It was an incredibly blessed time. Tom was not only my most respected mentor, but also a friend with whom I could truly be honest. We laughed, cried, and immersed ourselves in music during the preparation for the recital over the past month.

The time spent with Tom was the greatest gift in my life. It is with truly indescribable sadness that Tom, who gave me such a significant gift, has left us in this way.  Tom did not compromise as my mentor. He did not give up. He was not afraid to speak the truth. Looking back on our time together, I am truly grateful for his passion. 

Once, I asked Tom, pleaded with him not to retire. Tom promised me that he would never retire. Tom may have retired from this world, but his spirit and soul will remain an eternal lesson for us. Tom, you have my Love forever.

From President Gandre:

I first met Tom in the summer of 1984 when I was a student of his at the Blossom Festival School of Music.  I immediately experienced his incredible passion for and depth of knowledge about classical music.  It was not only his life’s work, but the actual core of his life. I had already worked at MSM eight years when he joined the faculty and MSM then became yet another of his passions.  As you read above, the students he touched with his dedication to the art form and to them personally was a hallmark of Tom’s life.  When he latched on to you, he was with you forever. That passion and dedication is rare.

Such an unexpected loss creates a void in our community. Please join us in remembering Tom for his decades-long contributions to the art form he so cherished and that he devoted his life’s work to as a colleague and pedagogue for so many students and alumni. For those closest to Tom, we send you our condolences and hope that the wellspring of good memories he inspires will provide solace now and in the years ahead.

For a more complete portrait of Tom’s significant performance and teaching career, please read the extended bio below our signatures.

We will write again to let you know any relevant details regarding a memorial service that is planned to take place at MSM. Until then, we are thinking of all those who were particularly close to Tom, especially family and close friends, and we know you join us in sending them comfort in their time of grief.


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