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David Bruce

Composer

Biography

British composer David Bruce made his Royal Opera debut in 2012 with the chamber opera The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, co-commissioned by ROH2 and The Opera Group.

Bruce was born in Stamford, Connecticut, and grew up in England. He studied at Nottingham University, at the Royal College of Music with Tim Salter and George Benjamin and at King’s College London with Harrison Birtwistle. He came to prominence in the USA with the song cycle Piosenki for Carnegie Hall, and has gone on to write Gumboots, Steampunk and That Time with You for Carnegie Hall. He was Associate Composer with San Diego Symphony Orchestra 2013–14, for which his works include Night Parade, the violin concerto Fragile Light (written for Gil Shaham) and Cymbeline. His operas include Push! for Tête à Tête Opera (Critic’s Choice for The Telegraph and Classical Music Magazine), the one-act opera A Bird in Your Ear for Dawn Upshaw and the youth opera Nothing for Glyndebourne. Further works include The North Wind was a Woman for Upshaw and Chamber Music Society at the Lincoln Center, Prince Zal and the Simorgh for London Philharmonic Orchestra, Fire for the Cultural Olympiad, The Given Note for Daniel Hope and Cut the Rug for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.

Bruce frequently collaborates with musicians strong in both classical and folk traditions, including accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman, mandolinist Avi Avital and clarinettist David Orlowsky. His awards include the 2008 Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize and the 1994 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Competition.

Videos

News and features

Angels, devils, fools and women: exploring the role of the countertenor

24 January 2017
Angels, devils, fools and women: exploring the role of the countertenor

Under-appreciated for centuries, the countertenor now storms the operatic stage.

What is it about fairytales that continues to fascinate composers and audiences?

30 December 2015
What is it about fairytales that continues to fascinate composers and audiences?

The centuries-old form continues to inspire, even into the 21st century through works such as The Firework-Maker’s Daughter.

Opera Essentials: The Firework-Maker’s Daughter

1 December 2015
Opera Essentials: <em>The Firework-Maker’s Daughter</em>

Our quick introduction to this family opera inspired by Philip Pullman’s captivating fairytale.

Photos