Dr. Skip Gray joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky School of Music in the fall of 1980 having attained the rank of Professor of Music at the age of 35. Over his career, he appeared as a tuba soloist and clinician throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia. He also served as Principal Tuba with the Lexington Philharmonic beginning in 1980. Skip Gray earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music from the University of Illinois where he was a student of Daniel Perantoni. He received the Bachelor of Music degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in his hometown of Berea, Ohio, having studied with Ronald Bishop of the Cleveland Orchestra. In addition, Gray was a conducting student of Dr. Harry Begian and Professor Paul Vermel at the University of Illinois.
Skip Gray served as President of the International Tuba-Euphonium Association (formerly T.U.B.A.) from 2001 to 2003. He served the organization as Corresponding Secretary from 1982 to 1987 and became its first Executive Secretary, serving two terms in that office from 1987 to 1991. He hosted the 1992 International Tuba-Euphonium Conference held in Lexington at the University of Kentucky. Gray served on the T.U.B.A. Board of Directors from 1996 to 1998 and continues to serve on the ITEA Honorary Board of Advisors. He became a "Life Member" of T.U.B.A. in 1989.
At the University of Kentucky, Dr. Gray taught both tuba and euphonium and conducted the highly regarded UK Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble and the UK Brass Choir. Under his direction, both groups performed throughout the Commonwealth and across the country at numerous conferences, workshops and public performances. He served as Interim Director of the School of Music from 2012-2014, Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts from 1993-1998, and as Associate Director of the School of Music from 1984-1987. He was an enthusiastic and energetic member of the University of Kentucky community with faculty, students and staff!
A special interest of Skip Gray’s was introducing new works for the solo tuba. He commissioned and gave premiere performances of many new pieces including the Fantasia for Solo Tuba and Brass Ensemble by Allen Vizzutti, Variations on an Aboriginal Melody for Tuba and Woodwind Quintet by Jim Curnow, and the Sonata for Tuba and Piano by Kent Holliday. From 2001 to 2004 he was a member of the Munich Brass Quintet (Germany). Gray performed with many orchestras within the United States and Europe including the Cincinnati Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Budapest Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Cleveland Ballet. During the 1988-89 season and in the spring of 1990, Gray served as Principal Tuba in the Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI in Turin, Italy, now the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI. In 1982 he was presented in Carnegie Recital Hall by Twentieth Century Innovations in a program of five new works for tuba and woodwind quintet. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist.
Skip Gray conducted throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. He was the co-founder and co-music director of the Lexington Brass Band and under his direction the group performed at the prestigious Midwest Band-Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the T.U.B.A. International Conference, the Great American Brass Band Festival, and performed at, and hosted, the North American Brass Band Association Competition. In 1996, the Lexington Brass Band released a compact disc entitled Pastime with Good Company featuring highlights of the band's live performances from 1993 through 1996. Gray was also principal guest conductor of the Solitaire Tuba Ensemble, a professional group based in Melbourne, Australia. With this ensemble, he presented concerts for the Australia Broadcasting Corporation and in Melbourne and Canberra. Known not only as an educator and conductor, Gray is a noted and prolific arranger and composer for all types of brass music including solo tuba, tuba-euphonium ensemble, brass quintet, tuba quartet, brass band, and brass choir. He has also been an active pedagogue with articles published in several music journals and magazines. He was an original editor for The Tuba Source Book (1996) contributing extensive chapters on tuba with band, tuba with orchestra and tuba with mixed ensemble.
Gray's solo compact disc entitled Tuba Europa-a musical journey across the continent was released in 2005 by Mark Records and was one of three finalists for the 2006 I.T.E.A. Roger Bobo Award for the outstanding tuba solo recording of the year. In 2010, Skip Gray was honored as the first recipient of the Clifford Bevan Award for Excellence in Research by the International Tuba-Euphonium Association.