Bruce Adolphe

Composer and Scriptwriter

Bruce Adolphe was born at exactly midnight, which meant it was not clear whether he was born on May 31st or June 1st. That strange convergence of exactitude and confusion set the stage for his personality, although exactly how is unclear. After watching both Victor Borge and Leonard Bernstein on TV, the child Bruce began “playing piano” on the breakfast table and cracking jokes with a Danish accent. Having no choice, his parents bought him a toy piano, at which Bruce pretended to be Schroeder of the Peanuts cartoons. Soon after the toy piano was pecked apart by the family parakeet, Bruce’s parents purchased a real piano, as well as a larger bird. By age ten, Bruce was composing music, and no one has been able to stop him since. As a “tween”, Bruce studied piano, clarinet, guitar, bass, and – as a teen – the bassoon. All this time, he wrote music and improvised accompaniments to everything that happened around him, as if life were a movie in need of a score. His favorite summers were spent at the Kinhaven Music School and he loved his Saturdays at the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. Later, he attended the Juilliard School, and was upon graduating was so reluctant to leave the building that he taught there for twenty years. When he finally left, he walked an entire block to The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where he has been since 1992. While there, he established a renowned family concert series known as Meet the Music! for which he writes scripts and music, and appears as host and actor.

Most of the time Bruce is a full-time composer. He has written music for Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sylvia McNair, David Shifrin, the Brentano String Quartet, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and phone books full of other great musicians. He has been composer-in-residence at festivals throughout the country and in cities, too, including SummerFest La Jolla, Chamber Music Northwest in Oregon, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, and the Virginia Arts Festival. His film scores include the permanent film at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Bruce is currently the composer-in-residence and music advisor to The Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles, where neuroscientists and musicians join together to say, “Yes We Scan.”

Bruce has written many pieces for family concerts, including Tyrannosaurus Sue: A Cretaceous Concerto; Marita and Her Heart’s Desire; Little Red Riding Hood; Urban Scenes for String Quartet and Kids; Three Pieces for Kids and Orchestra; Tough Turkey in the Big City; Oceanophony; The Purple Palace; The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses; Zephyronia; Red Dogs and Pink Skies; Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare; and The Carnival of the Creatures. With Julian Fifer, Bruce co-founded The Learning Maestros, a company devoted to innovative music education that links music to science, visual arts, history, literature, and daily life.

Bruce’s own questionable education and upbringing led him to become the severely serious, terrifying, unapproachable Classical musician he remains to this day.