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Music Director Bruce Kiesling
Active in a wide variety of music, Bruce has a national profile as a conductor and music educator from coast to coast, from classical repertoire at Carnegie Hall to the stage of the Hollywood Bowl conducting with Stevie Wonder and Latin superstars Juanes and Gloria Estefan.
Bruce has been the Music Director since 2009. During these years, our symphony has enjoyed balanced budgets and dramatic increases in ticket sales including multiple sold-out performances, and the budget has nearly doubled. The endowment has also increased and we recently completed raising over $211,000 for a new Wenger orchestra shell. Before each performance, his pre-concert comments and insider stories have become popular additions. The orchestra’s artistic profile has grown in scope and quality, including all of Stravinsky’s ballets, several Mahler symphonies and a cycle of all of the symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.
Bruce’s other passion is music education, where he regularly works with outstanding youth orchestra programs. For five years, Bruce was the YOLA conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic where he led multiple orchestras of different levels including most of the 700 students at YOLA’s three sites. YOLA is Gustavo Dudamel’s signature music education program, which brings free-of-charge musical opportunities to underserved youth in Los Angeles.
Bruce has conducted at the country’s most storied halls, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall and SPAC. Bruce has worked with Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Tai Murray, Alexander Paley, Steven Lin, Andrew Tyson, Alexi Kenney, Lindsay Deutsch, Jennifer Check, Anthony Dean Griffey, Gary Hoffman, Darren Criss, Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, Ricky Minor, Grace Potter, Jason Alexander, Lonny Price, Jodi Benson, Doug LeBrecque, Doc Watson, David Holt, and Gospel performers Richard Smallwood and Curt Carr. His orchestras have accompanied multiple performances with The Airborne Toxic Event, Clay Aiken, Natalie Cole, and Michael Bolton, among others. He has prepared orchestras for performances with Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop, Gustavo Dudamel, Thomas Wilkins, and David Robertson. Recently, Bruce created several original orchestrations to accompany the legendary rock band “Journey” for their performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
Bruce is also the Music Director of the Adrian Symphony in Michigan and Artistic Director and Conductor of the School of Orchestral Studies at the NY Summer School of the Arts. Previously, he spent 8 years as resident conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina before relocating to California. Following that, Bruce was the Assistant Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops and Music Director of the Pasadena Youth Symphony.
Bruce is active in higher education where he served for three years on the faculty of the Longy School of Music MAT program (Master of Arts in Teaching) of Bard College. Currently, Bruce conducts the University Orchestra and Opera at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Then there’s also his addiction to film music, which finds its way on to many of his concert programs, including full performances of the films “Psycho” and “Casablanca.” And there’s also his whole musical theater phase where he served as musical director for dozens of productions including the original production of Darren Criss’s (of TV’s “Glee”) “A Very Potter Sequel,” which became a top ten hit on iTunes. He was also musical director for the five-time Emmy winner “The News in Revue,” and “They’re Playing Our Song” at Reprise Theater starring Jason Alexander.
Bruce holds graduate degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of Miami, and The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Recent guest conducting appearances include Pacific Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Owensboro Symphony and the Young Artists Orchestra at Tanglewood. This fall includes a return performance with the Greensboro Symphony.
In spite of his intrepid schedule, Bruce somehow finds time to vacation a bit. Most recently, Bruce learned that downhill skiing really is like riding a bike (in the sense that after you haven’t ridden a bike in five years you might fall off a couple of times before you remember how it’s done). And he considers it the greatest tragedy of his life that he hasn’t seen a Broadway show since “Wicked” opened (and that was a long time ago now). However, he’s grateful that LA has such a lively theater and film scene to enjoy, where Bruce makes too-often appearances at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood, easily the world’s greatest movie theater.