jim murdoch
jim murdoch


Jim Murdoch
Originally from Montana and with family ties to West Virginia and Appalachia, Jim first performed in the San Francisco Bay Area with The Pickle Family Circus as an apprentice clown and roustabout, appearing in clown and club juggling routines. Outside the ring, Jim pursued a variety of interests: jazz and classical piano, accordion, movement and dance, including five years studying flamenco dance, castanets and music with Rosa Montoya (niece of flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya) in San Francisco.
Jim performs at festivals and fairs up and down the west coast from 'Lompoc to Puyallup,' playing his own compositions, as well as traditional songs and presenting his solo clown show, "The Dogs Bark but the Caravan Moves On,":

  • Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival of the Arts
  • The Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival
  • The Great Monterey Squid Festival
  • The San Francisco Festival of the Sea

Jim released his first CD, a solo effort in the spring of 2006, "Waltz to the Sea," a collection of original and traditional music, including songs for cedar flute, Appalachian dulcimer, accordion, guitar, piano, vocals, harmonica and castanets.

In 2010 Jim released his second cd, "Yonder Shore." A collection of his new songs, including collaborations with good musical friends, who perform on Hawaiian guitar, Turkish cumbus, zils, B3 organ and vocals. Music samples from both cds and from songs featuring a variety of instruments & traditions can be heard on the music page.

In October of 2005 Jim presented a literary symposium at the University of California Santa Barbara's College of Creative Studies, "A Musical Tour of The Accordion Music of Immigration in America, based on E. Annie Proulx's Novel "Accordion Crimes." Jim continues to present this music appreciation program describing the influence of immigration on traditional European and Celtic music.
   >> See 'Accordion Crimes'

Music, Healthcare & teaching
For the past fifteen years Jim has been working as a musician at the University California San Francisco Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center performing original and traditional music for patients who are recovering from surgery (including the intensive care unit), receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments and for staff and visitors. In 2008 Jim began a new song writing project. 'Songs from the Heart,' a collaboration with patients and staff to create individual songs, based on their experiences at the medical center.
   >> See 'Not our best day . . . thank you'

Jim has worked with the support of The California Arts Council to involve elderly people with creative projects, using music, dance, movement, oral history, video and visual art. In 2002, the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum transcribed and published Jim's oral history of a Bay Area Vaudevillian, "Thelma Langston, A Life in Vaudeville."

Since 1988 Jim has taught piano, harmonica, songwriting and movement in a variety of settings. He has led workshops and peer support programs to provide individual and group support through creative expression. Jim uses his training and experience in movement and dance, creative writing, oral history, music and composition, group discussion, collaboration and sometimes humor to give participants a broader understanding of issues in their lives involving change, loss, bereavement, growth, transformation and healing. Jim works throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with a variety of populations, presenting 15 to 20 programs every month.

Most recently Jim taught a flamenco based dance class for seniors at Mendelsohn House retirement community in San Francisco. Over the past twenty years he has presented programs and facilitated support workshops for the following

  • Pediatric Oncology
  • Kaiser Hospital San Francisco
  • Stanford University Lucille Packard Children's Hospital
  • Oakland Children's Hospital
  • San Francisco Domestic Violence Women's Shelter
  • UCSF Cancer Center - Husband's Support Group for men whose wives are dealing with cancer, ongoing
  • Elderly and Aging
  • retirement communities
  • board & care homes
  • skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospice & End of Life




contact Jim