John McMurtery is section flutist with the New York City Opera orchestra, and Assistant Professor of Flute at Western Illinois University. He is a frequent substitute flutist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. During the summer, he tours Japan and Taiwan with the New York Symphonic Ensemble. During the 2011-12 season, McMurtery served as piccoloist of the Oregon Symphony. He has been principal flutist of the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and the Dicapo Opera Company, additionally performing with the New England Symphonic Ensemble and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.
Of his debut performance of Carceri d'Invenzione IIb at the 2005 Lincoln Center Festival, The New York Times wrote: "…a tour de force for flute bristling with invention was played brilliantly by John McMurtery…[exploring] the extreme high and low registers of the instrument, zapping back and forth at hyperspeed…"
2002 marked McMurtery's debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City with the eclectic ensemble UpTown Flutes. In recent seasons, McMurtery has also been invited to tour extensively throughout Europe, performing recitals in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic. He made his European debut with the Vienna Chamber Ensemble in 2000 as part of the prestigious Wien Modern concert series. Adding to his discography, Mr. McMurtery recently recorded for the NAXOS label as principal flutist on a collaborative disc of world premieres by award-winning composer Sean Hickey. Mr. McMurtery's devotion to commissioning and performing works of contemporary composers earned him a debut at the innovative Focus! Festival at Lincoln Center in 2001, where he was selected to perform the American premiere of Nicola Sani's "I binary del tempo" (1998). His success led to immediate reengagement at the 2002 Focus! Festival for a performance of Roger Reynolds's "Transfigured Wind IV." Works commissioned for him include two virtuosic pieces for solo flute by James Romig: "Sonnet 2" (1999) and "Oiseau Miro" (2000). Mr. McMurtery has given countless premieres by renowned composers such as Sean Hickey, Jackson Hill, and Edward Taylor. In the interest of emphasizing programmatic diversity, he frequently performs works of Elliot Carter, Milton Babbitt, George Perle, and Brian Ferneyhough.
Prior to his appointment as visiting Professor of Flute at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas for the 2006-07 academic year, Mr. McMurtery served on the music history and music theory faculty at the Westminster Conservatory young artist program as well as at the Drew University Summer Music faculty. Mr. McMurtery was also the featured artist in presentations at the Pittsburg State University Festival of New Music, the Associated Colleges of the South New Music Festival, Bucknell University, and Millsaps College. He is a past president of the New York Flute Club.
Mr. McMurtery earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School in 2005, where he studied with Jeanne Baxtresser and Julius Baker. He also holds a Master of Music degree from Rutgers University where he studied with Bart Feller, and Bachelor of Music degree from Central Washington University, under the guidance of Dr. Hal Ott.