Artistic Director and Lecturer
Recently named Composer-in-Residence at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, Bruce Adolphe has composed music for some of the world’s greatest musicians, including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sylvia McNair, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Brentano String Quartet, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Miami Quartet, Chicago Chamber Musicians, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
A key figure at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1992, Mr. Adolphe is currently the Society’s resident lecturer and director of family concerts. His lectures are filmed and available on the Internet from The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has appeared weekly on public radio’s Performance Today since 2002, performing his Piano Puzzlers. The program, hosted by Fred Child, was originally broadcast by National Public Radio, and is now produced by American Public Media has over 175,000 podcast subscribers.
In 2008, Mr. Adolphe was commissioned by the Washington Performing Arts Society to compose a one-act opera about Marian Anderson with a libretto by novelist Carolivia Herron. The opera was produced in 2009 by the Washington National Opera and was performed again by WNO in 2011. Also in 2009, violinist Eugene Drucker premiered Mr. Adolphe’s Violin Concerto in Los Angeles at Redcat/Disney Hall, The Kennedy Center presented an evening devoted to Mr. Adolphe’s chamber music, and Yo-Yo Ma performed the premiere of Self Comes to Mind at the American Museum of Natural History. Self Comes to Mind, scored for cello and two percussionists, was a collaboration with neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.
In 2010, Mr. Adolphe was commissioned by the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence to compose a work based on texts and paintings by Bronzino in conjunction with exhibitions at both the Palazzo Strozzi and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The work, Of Art and Onions: Homage to Bronzino, was premiered at both institutions in 2010.
In the 2011-12 season, the Brentano String Quartet is celebrating its 20th anniversary by touring the U.S. playing its Fragments: Connecting Past and Present, for which six composers, including Bruce Adolphe, were commissioned to compose music based on fragments by great composers of the past. Also in the 2011-12 season, Adolphe’s cantata about social justice and civil liberties — Reach Out, Raise Hope, Change Society — was premiered by the Chamber Choir and musicians of the School of Music of the University of Michigan conducted by Jerry Blackstone. It was commissioned to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the School of Social Work.
Mr. Adolphe’s two full-length operas, Mikhoels the Wise and The False Messiah, were produced by The 92nd Street Y in New York in 1982 and 1983; his one-act comic opera for family audiences, The Amazing Adventure of Alvin Allegretto, was commissioned and premiered by the Metropolitan Opera Guild in 1994; and the one-act opera The Tell-Tale Heart was premiered by the Opera Theater of Boston and New England Conservatories in 1982.
Recordings of Adolphe’s music have been produced by the Telarc, Delos, CRI, Summit, Koch, Naxos, Albany, and PollyRhythm labels. A recording of Mr. Adolphe’s music produced by The Milken Archives of Jewish Music on the Naxos “American Classics” label won a Grammy for producer David Frost in 2005. Adolphe’s film scores include the permanent documentary at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
Formerly on the faculties of the Juilliard School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a Visiting Lecturer at Yale, Mr. Adolphe has been a featured commentator in nationally broadcast Live from Lincoln Center television programs. From 2001 to 2005 he was a lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His lecture series at Lincoln Center, Inside Chamber Music, is now in its 19th season.
Mr. Adolphe has written three books on music: The Mind’s Ear: Exercises for Improving the Musical Imagination; What to Listen for in the World; and Of Mozart, Parrots and Cherry Blossoms in the Wind: A Composer Explores Mysteries of the Musical Mind. He is currently revising and expanding The Mind’s Ear, which will be published in a second edition by Oxford University Press in 2013.