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Composer: Bruce, David (b. 1970)

Fact file
Year of birth1970
NationalityUnited States
March 2019
Evening performance
Matinee performance
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KilkennyMusic in Kilkenny Concert Series in Kilkenny Castle

Haydn, Bruce, Brahms
Carducci String Quartet; Julian Bliss

LondonMatthew Rose and Friends

Bruce, Whitley, Suckling, Hunt, Strauss R.
Matthew Rose; Katherine Broderick; Jan Schmolck; Anna Tilbrook
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Prom 3: An inflated Prom to celebrate BBC Young Musicians

Colin Currie, Owen Gunnell, Adrian Spillett and Sam Walton © BBC | Chris Christodoulou
With a smaller programme and a humbler premise, the stars of the show – those young, immensely talented performers – could have shone even brighter
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The value of Nothing: a dark thriller at Glyndebourne

Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Ursula) © Robert Workman
There’s something decidedly odd about pitching up at Glyndebourne sans picnic hamper, wrapped up in heavy layers, the aroma of mulled wine wafting through the foyer... 
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Sophisticated Christmas sparkle at the Royal Opera House

Tai Oney (Hamlet) and Lauren Fagan (Lila) © ROH | Alastair Muir
Philip Pullman's exotic adventure about a girl determined to follow her father's footsteps gets a gently magical outing with Sri-Lankan inspired shadow puppetry and a strong cast. 
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Silk Road Ensemble explores modern-day cultural crossroads at Carnegie Hall

Formed under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road Ensemble, a collective of distinguished performers and composers from more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas, took to the stage at Carnegie Hall Wednesday evening. Looking up at Perelman stage, you'd never guess the group was no more than a small ensemble.
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Opening night of The Firework-Maker's Daughter at the Linbury Studio Theatre

This week the Linbury Studio Theatre attracted an audience of the more minute variety with its dazzling production of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter. Based on Philip Pullman’s novel, the two-act opera transported its listeners into the realms of the Far East with papery costumes, Indonesian shadow puppetry and hand-crafted pyrotechnics.
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You can read our October 2013 interview with David Bruce here

Born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1970, David Bruce grew up in England and now enjoys a growing reputation on both sides of the Atlantic. Bruce’s music draws on the wild dances and heartfelt laments of gypsy music, flamenco, klezmer and other folk traditions, as well as having a direct connection to composers like Stravinsky, Janáček, Berio and Bartók, who shared similar passions. Often witty and always colourful, pulsing with earthy rhythms, Bruce’s music has a directness rarely heard in contemporary music, but also contains an emotional core of striking intimacy and sensitivity.

Since the première of Piosenki (2006) in Carnegie Hall, Bruce’s career in the US has flourished. Carnegie Hall itself has been a huge supporter of Bruce’s music, going on to commission Gumboots (2008), Steampunk (2011) and the forthcoming That Time with You for mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor which premières at the hall in October 2013. In 2009, Dawn Upshaw premièred the song-cycle The North Wind was a Woman, commissioned for the gala opening of the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center’s 2009 season. For 2013–14 Bruce is Associate Composer with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, for whom he will write three pieces: a new work, Night Parade, for the orchestra’s Carnegie Hall debut in October 2013; a violin concerto for 2014; and a chamber piece featuring mandolinist Avi Avital for May 2013.

In the UK, recent commissions include Prince Zal and the Simorgh (2012) for the London Philharmonic Orchestra for their BrightSparks series; Fire (2012), one of 20 “20x12” commissions celebrating the Cultural Olympiad; and the chamber opera The Firework-Maker’s Daughter (2012) co-commissioned by The Opera Group and ROH2, which toured the UK and New York’s New Victory Theatre in Spring 2013.

Bruce’s music has attracted numerous awards and prizes, including the Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize (2008) and the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Competition (1994). He studied at Nottingham University, the Royal College of Music, London, (with Tim Salter and George Benjamin); and completed a PhD in Composition at King’s College, London (1995-9), under the supervision of Sir Harrison Birtwistle.

Complementing his work as a composer, Bruce runs the music and technology company Red Balloon Technology Ltd whose sites include the popular sheet music site 8notes.com and the composers’ site CompositionToday.