Murray was the youngest of Sam and Rachel Ginsberg’s four boys. Many knew him as Maish, his Yiddish name. Murray quickly learned that work and anti-Semitism often went hand in hand. So, Murray changed his last name to Mitchell, and Maish took a back seat. But not for long.
Be it Murray or Maish, he had a wicked gift for playing the trombone. He took his first lesson at 14 and started playing professionally two years later. At 19, Murray became a solider in the Second World War, but his weapon was his trombone playing in the Canadian Army Band to entertain the troops. In 1948, Murray was asked to fight for Israel’s independence. Without hesitation, Murray packed his bag. He recalled this time “fighting for his people” (as he would say), with a sense of true pride and glory. Maish was alive and well.
Back in Toronto, Murray had a vibrant music career. He played under diverse conductors, performed on weekly variety shows, and was the house trombonist for CBC’s The Music Makers. Murray joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for almost two decades. He played classical music by day, and jazz by night, with The Murray Ginsberg Orchestra. He was the Toronto Musicians Association’s business representative for 15 years, and later wrote a book called They Loved to Play during his retirement.