Middletown names Neely Bruce Music Ambassador

MIDDLETOWN — Neely Bruce, composer, pianist, conductor, and scholar of American Music at Wesleyan University, is being named a Music Ambassador for the City of Middletown in 2019.

A reception in Bruce’s honor is set for Thursday, Jan. 10 at 3 p.m., in Room 208, Municipal Building in Middletown.

Bruce earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa; he received his DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been visiting professor and artist-in-residence at Middlebury College, Bucknell University, the University of Michigan, and at Brooklyn College.

The following are accolades for Bruce’s work as a composer and musician.

“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. The Electric Phoenix, if you haven't heard, are the best at what they do. This is one of the most significant releases to come my way in quite a while.” — Timothy D. Taylor (Professor of Ethnomusicology, UCLA), American Record Guide

“Americana, or, a New Tale of the Genii…Neely Bruce's new score evinced its own quirky appeal…Now Boyce and Arne, now Stravinskian ‘wrong-note’ classicism, now chaotic improvisation, then hymnody, bluegrass, blues… There are…lively numbers, and an inventive, judicious use of melodrama….The duet for Tyranny and Pride, ‘Confusion and destruction shake the world,’ is great fun…” — Will Crutchfield, The New York Times

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Sue Birch