SummerFest 2020 Artist and Artistic Director Spotlight: Bruce Adolphe

Jul 13, 2020 | News, Off the Hook Arts, SummerFest

“His original compositions convey a compelling voice, high craft, authenticity, communicative immediacy, and substance.”

— Gramophone

Bruce Adolphe is a world-renowned composer, pianist, lecturer, author, and podcast presenter. Adolphe has composed pieces for many revered musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, the Brentano String Quartet, the Miami String Quartet, the Beaux Arts Trio, and other acclaimed artists. 

Best known to the public for his weekly ‘Piano Puzzlers’ podcast on NPR’s Performance Today®, Adolphe has been a dedicated performer on the show since 2002! On this podcast, Adolphe uses his musical prowess to rewrite popular songs in the style of classical composers and calls upon listeners for their answers. 

Adolphe attended The Juilliard School to pursue a Bachelor of Music and went on to receive a Master of Music in 1976. Since then, his academic interests have reached beyond the study of music. Adolphe is fascinated with interdisciplinary research that connects the arts and sciences, especially relating to the field of neuroscience. 

In 2009, Yo-Yo Ma premiered Adolphe’s ‘Self Comes To Mind’ composition, which was a collaborative piece written with the input of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. Damasio framed the composition’s text around the shifting and evolving nature of human consciousness. Further to his neuroscience-inspired compositions, Adolphe is the composer-in-residence for the Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles. At the institute, he works alongside neuroscientists to uncover the neurobiology of the creative process. 

Building upon his fascination with science, in 2015 Adolphe composed the captivating score for Nickolas Barris’ ‘Einstein’s Light’- a documentary about the distinguished physicist Albert Einstein. You can experience the magic of ‘Einstein’s Light’ with this selected piece, ‘Einstein’s Harmonic Mind’ from the score on YouTube:

Adolphe’s drive to bring together perspectives from different disciplines led to the co-founding of The Learning Maestros, alongside artist manager Julian Fifer. The organization has devoted itself to the creation of educational materials and art that link together a variety of subjects from music to science for all ages. 

As the Artistic Director for the Off the Hook Arts (OtHA) festivals, Adolphe has overseen the creative processes for the organization since its inception in 2012. Adolphe’s rich, interdisciplinary background has come to shape the very nature of the festivals. Past themes have varied from the nature of perception to climate change. Adolphe connects the Fort Collins community to an array of world-class musicians and speakers. It is this creativity and insight that characterizes the unique wonder of Off the Hook Arts’ events. 

For many years, Adolphe has also been the Resident Lecturer for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS). You can enjoy Adolphe’s ‘Inside Chamber Music’ series from home on the CMS’s YouTube playlist: 

Adolphe is currently working on a new project that was commissioned by Musicians for Human Rights. The work is created for orchestra and soprano and shall accompany verses from the poem ‘My Lost One’ by Reem Al-Shamiry. The composition will be premiered in 2021 by the Human Rights Orchestra and soprano Angel Blue. 

During the pandemic, Adolphe’s ‘Piano Puzzlers’ podcast continues to provide weekly entertainment to dedicated fans through this difficult time. You can listen to recent and back episodes of ‘Piano Puzzlers’ here: 

Bruce Adolphe Artist Biography Page