Prolific in the recording studio and ever-busy on the concert stage and as a teacher, Murray McLachlan is recognized as one of the finest pianists from the U.K. of his generation. Early in his career he became known for his insightful performances of Russian piano music, recording the complete sonatas of Prokofiev, as well as several discs of works by Myaskovsky, Khachaturian, Kabalevsky, Vainberg, and others. But he soon divulged his versatility in a range of repertory: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven (complete piano sonatas), Brahms (complete solo works), Chopin, Gershwin, and modern composers like Ronald Stevenson, Michael Parkin, and Martin Butler. McLachlan has made over 40 recordings for several labels, including Olympia, Divine Art, and Linn Records.
McLachlan was born in Dundee on January 6, 1965. He studied at Manchester's Chetham's School of Music (where he would return years later as a faculty member) and at Cambridge University. In 1985 he began studies with eminent British pianist Peter Katin. McLachlan made his television debut in Holland in 1987 playing the Rachmaninov Second Piano Concerto as part of a young musician's series. He cut his first recording for Olympia, a CD of works by Myaskovsky that was released in 1988, with favorable critical response. He recorded the Prokofiev sonatas in 1988-1989 for the same label, a set that also drew positive notice.
Throughout the 1990s and into the new century, McLachlan made numerous concert tours of the U.K., Europe, the United States, South Africa, Malta (where he received a knighthood in 1997 for his tireless musical work there), and the Far East. McLachlan gave a remarkable series of 50 Chopin recitals in 1997 for the benefit of the Marie Curie Cancer Fund's Golden Jubilee. During the 2000-2001 season, McLachlan made his conducting debut (in period dress) leading the Mozart Festival Orchestra in an acclaimed series of 18 concerts throughout the U.K.
In 2003 McLachlan delivered another marathon-like event when he played the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven in a series of concerts in Manchester, once again drawing high praise. In 2006 he launched another series of celebrated concerts, this time to mark the Shostakovich centenary, playing seldom-performed works like the two piano sonatas. Among McLachlan's later recordings was the 2006 release on Regis Records of Piano Music of Scotland, a disc featuring works by Ronald Stevenson (a former teacher of McLachlan), F.G. Scott, and Ronald Center.