Forced into learning the bagpipes at eight years old by his patriotic Scottish father, Spencer Murray grew up spending his summers among highland dancers and caber tossers at highland games across western Canada. By the time his teenage years rolled around, he was already an accomplished piper. He performed for the Queen on her royal visit, was the youngest ever official piper for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, and won the under-18 world pipe band championships with his band in Glasgow, Scotland.
In his early twenties, Spencer moved to Toronto to continue his musical education. By day he studied saxophone with Canadian jazz legend, Pat LaBarbera, at Humber College but at night, he was studying Irish flute and tin whistle with Juno-winning Irish musician, Loretto Reid. While in Toronto, he formed “The Log Drivers” alongside Canadian Grand Master fiddle champion, Julie Fitzgerald. Their self-titled album received radio play across Canada and in the UK on the BBC and was nominated for “Instrumental Album of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
After completing his studies, Spencer returned to Alberta and quickly became an in-demand session musician. He has performed with Grammy winner Carlos Nunez, Scottish fiddler Bruce MacGregor of Blazin’ Fiddles on his Canadian tour, and with the Barr Brothers on the mainstage of the 2016 Edmonton Folk Music Festival. In 2015, Spencer became the first ever Canadian to win the senior flute competition at the New York Fleadh, the biggest Irish music competition in North America and went on to represent Canada at the All Ireland Championships in Sligo, Ireland.
Spencer recently received his Master’s of Irish Traditional Music Performance program at the University of Limerick on the Uilleann pipes thanks to the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the J.B.C. Watkins Music prize. He was performing in the smash hit “Come from Away” on flute, whistles, and pipes until the run was cancelled to the pandemic.