Artistic Director and Lecturer
Bruce Adolphe is a composer, educator, performer, and author whose music is performed worldwide by renowned artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Fabio Luisi, Joshua Bell, Daniel Hope, Sylvia McNair, Carlo Grante, the Washington National Opera, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Zürich Philharmonia, the IRIS Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Brentano String Quartet, the Miami Quartet, the Cassatt Quartet, the Currende Ensemble of Belgium, members of the Silk Road Ensemble, and over 60 symphony orchestras.
Some career highlights include: Itzhak Perlman’s world premiere performances of Adolphe’s solo violin music at The Kennedy Center and Avery Fisher Hall; Yo-Yo Ma playing the world premiere of Self Comes to Mind, a work based on a text written for the project by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, at the American Museum of Natural History; violinist Daniel Hope performing the violin concerto I Will Not Remain Silent with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Kahane in 2017; Joshua Bell performing world premiere of Einstein’s Light with pianist Marija Stroke at UNESCO in Paris as the finale of the United Nations Year of Light, 2015; the Washington National Opera performances of Let Freedom Sing: the story of Marian Anderson (libretto by Carolivia Herron); an evening of Adolphe works at The Kennedy Center; two full-length operas on Jewish subjects at The 92nd Street Y (Mikhoels the Wise and The False Messiah); nine world premieres at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
In the 2020-2021 season, before the pandemic, performances of Adolphe's works included Are there not a thousand forms of sorrow at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; premieres of three works about women who survived the Holocaust through their involvement with music, composed for ROCO in Houston, Texas, including the chamber orchestra work I Too Bleed and Hope for Beauty and two chamber works premiered at the Holocaust Museum of Houston.
Secrets of Creativity: What Neuroscience, the Arts, and Our Minds Reveal, published by Oxford University Press in 2019, has a chapter by Bruce Adolphe called The Musical Imagination: Mystery and Method in Musical Composition. Here is a link to OUP: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/secrets-of-creativity-9780190462321?lang=en&cc=us
Bruce Adolphe's most recent projects include a work for soprano and orchestra to a poem by Reem Al-Shamiry, a woman in Yeman whose husband was killed in the war there. It is commissioned by Musicians for Human Rights and will be premiered and toured by soprano Angel Blue and the Human Rights Orchestra conducted by Alessio Allegrini in 2021. Other current and upcoming projects include: Soprano Angel Blue will give the world premiere of Bruce’s song cycle Water Songs, possibly in a virtual recital offered online this summer; The Dallas Symphony in collaboration with Bravo!Vail has commissioned Bruce to compose a piece for 2021-2022 that would share the program with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; Violinist Deborah Buck has commissioned Bruce to compose a work for her, resulting in Fantasia on Beethoven’s Spring Sonata. The Nightingale for solo violin and narrator was given its world premiere by Daniel Hope playing and narrating from his Berlin living room on [email protected] during the stay-at-home order. (See below for the link to the premiere.)
In recent seasons, Adolphe’s one-act opera for family audiences, Emma and the Blue Baku, with a libretto by James Bradburne, was given its world premiere in Milan, Italy, at the Biblioteca Nazionale di Milan by the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado, conducted by Marcello Parolini, stage direction by Kuniaki Ida, with costumes and scenery designed by Angelo Lodi. In Fort Collins, Adolphe's Four Harmonious Friends), based on a Buddhist story, was premiered at the Off the Hook Arts Festival in Colorado, performed by members of the Silk Road Ensemble —Mike Block, Shane Shanahan, and Kaoru Watanabe — and bass trombonist Steve Wilson (University of Texas, El Paso) with Bruce Adolphe narrating and playing piano and then performed at Lincoln Center in New York.
A few seasons earlier, highlights included the world premiere of Chopin Dreams at Alice Tully Hall, played by Italian pianist Carlo Grante, who also gave the European premiere at the Brahms-saal of the Musikverein, Vienna. Sony Masterworks released a recording of Einstein’s Light with Joshua Bell and Marija Stroke, available as a download or streaming from all the major music sites. In 2016, Fabio Luisi conducted the world premiere of Adolphe’s Piano Concerto with soloist Carlo Grante and the Zürich Philharmonia and later that season Eliot Fisk played the world premiere of Suite for Pete, dedicated to the memory and humanitarian work of Pete Seeger, at the Off the Hook Arts Festival in Colorado.
Over the past 25 years, Mr. Adolphe has served as composer-in-residence at many festivals and institutions throughout the United States for which he has also created and led educational concerts and workshops for all ages and levels of musical accomplishment. A key figure at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1992, Mr. Adolphe is the founder and director of the Society’s Meet the Music family concert series as well as the Society’s resident lecturer. He has appeared as a commentator on Live From Lincoln Center television and as a regular lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The author of three books on music, he has taught at Yale, Juilliard, and New York University. Since 2002, he performs his Piano Puzzlers weekly on public radio’s Performance Today, hosted by Fred Child. With Julian Fifer, Mr. Adolphe co-founded The Learning Maestros, a company dedicated to creating new works and related curricula that integrate music with other disciplines, including science, literature, history, and issues of social conscience. His book The Mind’s Ear: Exercises for Improving the Musical Imagination was published in a second edition in October 2013 by Oxford University Press. Mr. Adolphe’s music is recorded on many labels, including Bridge, Delos, Telarc, PollyRhythm, Albany, CRI, New World, and Naxos (American Masters series).
Mr. Adolphe was recently appointed composer-in-residence at the Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles, where he works with neuroscientists Antonio and Hanna Damasio and Assal Habibi. He lives in New York City with his wife, the pianist Marija Stroke, their daughter Katja, and Polly Rhythm, the opera-singing parrot.
Recently, Mr. Adolphe's piece "The Nightingale" had its world premiere on Daniel Hope's "[email protected]" series. "The Nightingale" is for solo violin and narrator, both music and text are by Bruce Adolphe (based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen). "[email protected]" is recorded in Daniel Hope's living room in Berlin and is filmed by arte.tv.
Mr. Adolphe's piece begins about 9 minutes into the episode.