Title/Position: Lecturer, Music TheoryProfile:
What would you say are the outstanding highlights of your professional life?
I feel anytime I get to travel and perform music I am on my intended path—whether it be my own compositions, debuting new works by other contemporaries, singing with any of my bands, performing on live television or in theatrical shows—I feel at home on the most foreign stage.
Why did you choose music as your career?
I feel music in my body and soul. As a dancer for many years, I learned rhythm and shape. As a musical theatre actress and singer, I learned how to dramatize and interpret. As a student of piano, I furthered my curiosity into the swirling worlds of harmony. As a visual artist and painter, I learned gesture and representation. As a writer, I fell in love with the orchestration of words. As a teacher, I made an art of building brains, skill sets, and confidence. Music most directly lets me be all of these people at the same time.
Why should a potential student choose the University of Miami?
The University of Miami in general is a rare gem. I personally always thrive when surrounded by beauty and none can compare to the lush tropical backdrop of our beautiful Coral Gables campus. Furthermore, to be in the Frost School of Music is to experience the creme de la creme of performers, writers and instructors. Our colorfully rich representation of multiple musical styles is our greatest strength. It is a university with a conservatory feel.
How were you influenced by your teachers?
My best teachers taught me to ask more questions; to fall in love with the pursuit of more knowledge. They cultivated my cinders and sparks of initial ability to blazing torches. They were role models I absolutely respected and wanted to emulate.
What do you expect from students at the Frost School of Music?
As your teacher, I expect you to give your all—as if your professional reputation depended on it! This does not mean come perfect—but come willing to seek your own standard of perfection. In this world of second-to-second opportunities, you must be ready with an incredible skill set, a disciplined attitude and the kind of hunger that drives you continually further.
What’s on your iPod?
EVERYTHING!!! As a proud New Yorker I feel a kinship to R&B and Hip Hop. I have also been very influenced by the British, ranging from Palestrina to Blur. The better question is what’s on my shuffle…
What is your favorite quote about Music?
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the Universe, wings to the Mind, flight to the Imagination, and charm and gaiety to Life and to everything.”
Raina Murnak is a lecturer in music theory at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She is a New York-born composer and vocalist and received both her Bachelors in Voice and her Master’s in Composition from the State University of New York at Stony Brook where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She went on to receive her Doctorate in Composition and Vocal Pedagogy from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Dr. Murnak has enjoyed many performances of her works both in concert and on recordings. Her trio “Lagathia” written for the Ibis Trio will be out on disc this fall. Murnak is also a very active Miami performer in many varied venues and genres, ranging from the avant-garde to the commercial. She is currently a member of F(X), a new music ensemble, as both a performer and composer. She is also a composer-in-residence at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami.