Murray Hipkin studied at York University, the Guildhall and the National Opera Studio before joining the Music Staff of English National Opera (1983–1988) and then working for Opéra de Lyon, La Monnaie, Opera Factory, Scottish Opera and, as Musical Director, Opera Brava.
Since returning to ENO in 1995, he has appeared in Mahagonny, The Silver Tassie, Leoncavallo’s La bohème, The Rake’s Progress and Trial by Jury; as Senior Répétiteur his productions over 34 seasons have included Phyllida Lloyd’s Ring Cycle and Terry Gilliam’s The Damnation of Faust; as Assistant Conductor he worked on, most recently, Sweeney Todd (with Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel), The Barber of Seville, Sunset Boulevard (starring Glenn Close), Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, The Yeomen of the Guard, Akhnaten and Iolanthe. In 2013 he played the solo piano in a revival of Deborah Warner’s production of Britten’s Death in Venice (available on DVD).
He has conducted La bohème (Surrey Opera, Opera Box); Salieri Falstaff, Haydn La vera costanza, Mozart Apollo and Hyacinth, Gluck Le cinesi (Bampton Classical Opera), and, for ENO, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, The Gondoliers, Kismet, Carousel (with Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe), Chess (with Michael Ball and Alexandra Burke) and Man of la Mancha starring Kelsey Grammar and Danielle de Niese. In July 2010 he was Associate Conductor of The Duchess of Malfi by Torsten Rasch (ENO/Punchdrunk).
Other highlights include assisting the composer John Adams and conducting on location for the Channel 4 film The Death of Klinghoffer, and Pierrot Lunaire with Björk at the Verbier Festival. In September 2012 he assisted John Adams once again on Nixon in China at the BBC Proms and the Berlin Philharmonie, and in November 2018 he worked on Sweeney Todd for Bergen National Opera. In February 2009 Murray completed an eight-month sabbatical from ENO as Musical Director of The Sound of Music at the London Palladium, conducting over 170 performances.
Murray has been with NLC since January 2003 and was Musical Director of the Pink Singers, Europe’s longest running LGBT+ choir, from 2010 until October 2023. In 2022 he appeared as Music Supervisor and coach in the Sky Arts/ENO/Factory Films reality series Anyone Can Sing, and in August 2023 he conducted The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and The Yeoman of the Guard as Musical Director of the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival at Buxton Opera House and Malvern Theatre. Plans include Nixon in China for the Deutsche Opera in May 2024 and a return to Buxton and Malvern to conduct The Pirates of Penzance and The Gondoliers in August and September.
Murray Hipkin is being made redundant from English National Opera on 31 March 2024, and, until that time, appears by permission.