Bruce Wolosoff

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Composer

Classical; Instrumentalist

Piano

Oct 7, 2018

Bruce Wolosoff

IC-US-NY

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Bruce Wolosoff is a pianist and internationally performed composer of solo, chamber, and orchestral music. Lauded as “an authentic American voice” by critic Thomas Bohlert for his integration of classical, jazz, blues, and contemporary influences, Wolosoff often composes in response to visual art and through collaborations with leading artists across a variety of disciplines. Recent projects include the recording “Paradise Found: Cello Music of Bruce Wolosoff” featuring performances by Mr. Wolosoff with cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio of the Eroica Trio, which was released internationally by Avie Records in April 2022 and debuted at #6 on the Billboard Classical Chart. 


Wolosoff's previous collaboration with Ms. Sant'Ambrogio, a recording of Wolosoff’s “Concerto for Cello and Orchestra” with conductor Grzegorz Nowak and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, was also a Billboard Top 10 best selling classical album. Critic Jerry Dubins of Fanfare Magazine described the concerto as one of “compelling beauty” that “can be declared an instant masterpiece.” 


Other recent commissions include "Lacrymae” for cello choir for cellist Inbal Segev’s “20 for 2020” project; “The Astronomer’s Key" commissioned in honor of the Roswell Artists-in-Residence Program’s 50th anniversary; “The Loom,” inspired by watercolors by the composer's friend Eric Fischl and commissioned by the Eroica Trio, who premiered the work at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. 


Wolosoff  collaborated with the late choreographer Ann Reinking on two ballets.  The White City, based on Erik Larsen’s The Devil in the White City and  made in partnership with Melissa Thodos of Thodos Dance Chicago, enjoyed  a two-season tour around the country and rave critical reviews: the  Chicago Sun-Times named it “Best Dance of 2011.” A Light in the Dark,  inspired by the lives of Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan, was nominated  for an Emmy Award in Outstanding Achievement for Arts Programming. The  Chicago Sun-Times described the production as “a feast for the senses,”  Dance Magazine as “masterful,” and the Chicago Stage Standard as having  “the hallmarks of an instant classic.”

Other  interdisciplinary collaborations have included composing music for  short films by the artist (and Wolosoff’s wife) Margaret Garrett,  including "Elegy", made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the  short dance film Cuneiform, which premiered at Houston’s Frame x Frame  Film Fest in 2019. In a recurring project with the Pilobolus dance  company and New York Academy of Art, Wolosoff improvises on the piano  with dancers while they are drawn in real time.

​As an outgrowth of these inter-disciplinary collaborations, Wolosoff was recently named Artistic Director of “Reflections in Music,” a non-profit organization that presents programs of music in conversation with other art forms.


Born  in New York City in 1955, Wolosoff played in a variety of rock bands as  a teenager while pursuing studies in classical piano performance.  During his early career as a freelance classical pianist, Wolosoff’s  debut recital earned a glowing review from then-New York Times music  critic Tim Page, who wrote that “Mr. Wolosoff is an artist with ideas.  He combines keen musical insight with a prismatic sense of tonal color.”  Wolosoff gave the world premieres for a number of piano works,  including compositions by Daron Hagen and Richard Danielpour; Wolosoff  premiered the latter’s Piano Concerto No. 2 under the direction of JoAnn  Falletta. He was Artistic Director and pianist in an 80th birthday  tribute to Olivier Messiaen at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Of his  recording of Ferruccio Busoni’s piano music for Music and Arts Programs  of America, Hannah Busoni, the composer’s daughter-in-law and head of  the Busoni Society in the 1980s, wrote, “All those who love Busoni’s  work owe it to themselves to hear Bruce Wolosoff’s compelling and  beautiful interpretations. They are exemplary.”


Wolosoff  began receiving wider acclaim as a composer with the release of “Songs  Without Words” on Naxos American Classics, a collection of 18  divertimenti performed by the Carpe Diem String Quartet. Additional  commissions have come from ETHEL, the Lark Quartet, the Minnesota  Ballet, recorder player Michala Petri, and the 21st Century Consort. In  2007 he led the Columbus Symphony in a performance of his “Sinfonia” as  part of their Bach & Beyond Festival. Wolosoff’s chamber opera  “Madimi,” with a libretto by the late Michael Hall, was premiered at  Symphony Space in New York City by the Center for Contemporary Opera.  Another opera, “The Great Good Thing,” with a libretto by Debbie  Danielpour based on the young adult novel by Roderick Townley, was  workshopped by operamission.

Wolosoff  has maintained a private teaching studio since 1968. For eight years,  he was a visiting artist at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton, New  York, where he launched a creative orchestra of young composers, most of  whom had no previous formal music training, in which students performed  and conducted each other’s music.


Wolosoff  earned a B.A. from Bard College, where he studied with Joan Tower and  ran an improvisational group with multi-instrumentalist and composer  Elliot Sharp, and an M.M. in Piano Performance from the New England  Conservatory. He studied composition and orchestration with Lawrence  Widdoes, and pursued post-graduate studies at the Dalcroze School of  Music with Dr. Hilda Schuster. Wolosoff’s principal piano instructor was  German Diez, who taught the technique of Claudio Arrau. Other teachers  include Evelyne Crochet, Richard Goode, Jorge Bolet, Charlie Banacos,  and Jaki Byard.


Photo by Jaime Lopes

Bruce Wolosoff

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