Final Note: Gary Gray

Life Member. Clarinet
12/16/1939 – 12/12/2021

by Jonathan Sacdalan

It is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of clarinetist Gary Gray, one of the most beloved members of our Los Angeles recording community.

Gary had a monumental career that spanned more than 50 years and included recording in over a thousand TV and film soundtracks, collaborating with luminaries like Frank Sinatra and Aaron Copland, playing principal clarinet in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, performing as a founding member of the Pacific Serenades chamber ensemble, commissioning numerous solo and chamber works, and making his Grammy-nominated recording of the Copland clarinet concerto among other highly regarded albums. For over five decades, he served as professor of clarinet studies at UCLA, where he was beloved by generations of clarinetists who now lead successful careers locally, nationally, and abroad. His mentorship shaped myself and other students both musically and as individuals, but anyone who knew him will have fond memories of his humor, generosity, friendship, and unshakable optimism. I consider myself fortunate to have studied with such a wonderful person.

Our hearts go out to all who had the pleasure of knowing Gary, as a colleague and friend.

Gary’s students meant the world to him. Please consider continuing his legacy of supporting the next generation of clarinet and saxophone talent by contributing to the Gary Gray Scholarship Fund.