James J. McCray

In loving memory of James J. McCray

James has left his mortal body on Tuesday, January 31th, 2018. His life and teaching made the world a better place for all of us. His legacy will live in the work of the McCray Studio, carried on by his wife Prizrenka McCray and in the activity of his students who continue to make him proud on so many stages around the world. James was such a warm and outgoing person, making friends everywhere he went throughout his long life: if you were lucky enough to have shared some moments with him, please do leave a message on this page as a testimony of your love and respect. A cremation will be held on the morning of Sunday February 4th in a small family circle. We invite all his students, friends and colleagues to join us in an remembrance and celebration of his life in Jaime Bennet (Plaats 11, 2513 AD – Den Haag) on Sunday, February 4th starting at 17.30. We feel that sharing memories with a glass of whiskey in his favorite restaurant would be the best way to honor his wishes and his spirit.

Frank van Aken remembering James in a beautiful interview on NL Radio 4.


  1. H.Ruijl

    Dear Zenja and Violeta, We wish you all the courage and strength for tomorrow morning. We will be with you in our thoughts. We shall always remember Jim for his influence in our lives as a teacher, a singing artist and a human being. An important enrichment of the vocal scene in Holland for all these years. He was the personification of great singing in the old true tradition. We will and cannot forget him. Unfortunately we will be abroad tomorrow so we cannot attend your meeting in The Hague. We wish you a dignified In Memoriam celebration and hope to see you soon. Harry Ruijl & Edward Hoepelman

  2. Kim Deja

    The best teacher I ever had.
    This title shall forevermore be affixed to my memory of James mcCray. In a time when I had no idea what the heck I had to do anymore in order to sing, he was basically a rock on which my feet could finally find solid ground to rebuild upon. From the first moment of meeting James, I believed that this man knew his shit. I will always be grateful for what he did for my voice, but James can’t solely be seen in light of his teachings and passion for singing. He was so much more & did so much more. His kindness and humor are vividly recalled in my mind’s eye. His huge generosity to me will never be forgotten, nor the respect he showed to the individual standing in front of his piano. Not to mention his love for live and everything it had to offer. Every lesson there would be some mention of a particular food he was enjoying at that time, whether it be his ridiculous goofy craving for cherry pie or the newly found sugarless bonbons that fitted so well in his diet. Man!, he could promote these edibles with such gusto, that I always found myself doing groceries at the end of my lessons. He was also one who went through life with a roar, never giving up and never allowing negativity to enter his doorstep. He had a particular phobia for that. In this he was perhaps most impressive, especially to me. His wisdom and mentality shall echo through all the lives he touched. Whenever I sing, I can see him sitting behind the piano, hear his instructions clearly, feel the hope he had for my future. He might have left us to soon, the grandeur of his being shall keep on existing through the lives of his family, his students, his friends, through my life. In that he has reached immortality I think. I’m forever grateful to have known him. The realisation of knowing that James is no longer physically there in his studio, fills me with the utmost sadness. Knowing that I really cannot return there anymore. Life deals its cards in a unexpected manner. In that we are all equal, in that it is impossible to cling on to certainty. I pray that wherever James finds himself now, he can look back on this particular earth and rejoice in the effect he has had on so many lives. I hope he is at peace and I hope all of us can find peace in the knowledge that James moved on. I send all my love to the family he’s leaving behind. He will live on in my memory, in all our memories, like an audible presence. A loving memory of a wonderful teacher and human. A human whose description was/is never short of superlatives!
    Kim Deja

  3. Angelique Eijlbregt

    My dear friend James… maybe you have lost your mortal body… but you are néver lost in my heart…

    …no sad goodbyes… only rest in peace sweety… untill we meet again my beloved and cherished maestro…

    From your little cricket,
    Angelique Eijlbregt

  4. Alan Razzak

    Dear James,

    thank you for ever.
    You made my freedom possible.

    Love you.

    Draga Zenja i Violeta,
    Upravo sam sreo Tomeka i cuo vijest o Jamesovom odlasku.
    Moje iskreno saucesce.
    Zelim vam puno snage u ovim danima koji nadolaze.

    Alan Razzak

  5. Gilbert den Broeder

    Dear Prizrenka, Violetta, family and dear ones of James. James has been such an inspiration. Not only for the singers but also for us pianists who worked with him. He was a life saver for the ones who were lost in their singing. A guide to all on this wonderful but also difficult and complicated path of being a singer.
    I wish you all strenght in these days. James will always be there in the music making of all the people he touched with his soul.
    With deep respect,
    Gilbert den Broeder

  6. Nikola David

    Liebe Prof.Prizrenka, Liebe Violeta Herzlichen Beileid, viel Kraft und Zuneigunen in dieser schweren Zeit. James war wass besonders, ein hervorragender Sänger, mit eine charismatische gabe ein hervorragender Lehrer und Mensch. Psalm 103 15-17
    “Enosch ke’hatzir jamav…”
    Der Mensch wie Gras sind seine Tage, wie des Feldes Blume so blühet er. Denn ein Wind fährt über sie hin, und sie ist nicht da, und es kennt sie nicht mehr ihre Stelle.
    Nikola David und Familie


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