Neely Bruce

“As a longtime journalist, I’ve always embraced the First Amendment, but it wasn’t until I heard the words
sung that they seized me on an emotional level. They are seared into my soul now thanks to Neely Bruce.” 
— Steve Collins, Maine State House reporter for the Sun Journal

Neely Bruce headshot hi-res.jpg

NEELY BRUCE is a composer, performer and scholar of American music on faculty at Wesleyan University.  American Record Guide writes, "Neely Bruce's importance in contemporary American music has never been sufficiently recognized. Bruce's art ranges from the most difficult and virtuosic contemporary writing to simple tonality, and moves from one idiom to the other effortlessly and convincingly--something hardly anyone can do without sounding forced. Bruce seems equally at home in every style he uses."

A composer of over 800 works, his pop music-based version of Hansel and Gretel was commissioned by Connecticut Opera. Flora, an Opera, based on an 18th century ballad opera, was commissioned by Spoleto USA and praised by James Oestreich of The New York Times as a "highlight of the festival." Flora is available on the NPR website.

Co-executor of the musical estate of Henry Brant, America’s great pioneer spatial composer, Bruce conducted Brant’s Orbits for 80 trombones at the Guggenheim Museum. Alex Ross from The New Yorker listed the performance as one of "ten memorable concerts of 2009.”

In 2012, he premiered The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets for chorus, flute, oboe, string quartet, double bass and harpsichord. The Knight Foundation brought the piece and composer to the Newseum in Washington DC. The work has been performed in many places, including Boston's Faneuil Hall. His latest oratorio, Circular 14, is being used as part of Holocaust remembrances in concert halls and museums around the world.

From operas and symphonic works to vocal music and ragtime, Bruce is a prolific composer and the first and only pianist to accompany all 202 songs of Charles Ives which he performed with several singers as part of the Ives Vocal Marathon. He is currently recording the entire project.

Neely Bruce is a passionate and captivating performer whose inspiration knows no musical boundary. His educational outreach includes master classes and lectures.  

    Available Programs:
    Charles Ives: Songs in the Key of Z
    The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets