Ann Murray was born in Dublin and studied with Frederick Cox at the Royal Manchester College of Music. She has established close links with both the English National Opera, for which she has sung the title rôles in Handel’s Xerxes and Ariodante and in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where her rôles have included Cherubino, Dorabella, Donna Elvira, Rosina, Octavian, and new productions of L’enfant et les sortilèges, Ariadne auf Naxos, Idomeneo, Mitridate, re di Ponto, Così fan tutte, Mosé in Egitto, Alcina and Giulio Cesare.
Much sought after as a concert singer, she has sung with the Orchestre de Paris under Kubelík, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Sawallisch, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Muti, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Solti, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Haitink and in the Musikverein, Vienna under Sawallisch and Harnoncourt. She sings in Great Britain with leading orchestras, at the BBC Promenade concerts, where she has sung at both the First and Last Nights of the Proms, and at major festivals.
Her recital appearances and operatic engagements have taken her to major musical centres throughout Europe, as well as to the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Chicago Lyric Opera, while her discography reflects not only her broad concert and recital repertoire but also many of her great operatic rôles, including Purcell’s Dido under Harnoncourt, Dorabella under Levine, Cherubino under Muti, Hänsel under Colin Davis, Sextus under Harnoncourt and Donna Elvira under Solti.
In 1997 Ann Murray was made an Honorary Doctor of Music by the National University of Ireland, in 1998 she was made a kammersängerin of the Bavarian State Opera and in 1999 an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. In the 2002 Golden Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours she was appointed an honorary Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.