Applauded by Aaron Copland, inspired by Desmond Tutu, and mentored by Hugo Friedhofer and Earle Hagen, Bruce Babcock has spent his working life composing music for the musicians of Los Angeles. Successful in both film and television, and the concert hall, he is known for vibrant, sonorous, expressive pieces that immerse audience and performers alike in an inclusive and exuberant celebration of the musical art.
Babcock holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in music composition from California State University, Northridge. While at CSUN, Bruce’s Impasse was performed for Aaron Copland during his 1975 residency. Copland’s comments on the piece, recorded for posterity, include “an impression of musicality which is very pleasant, indeed...a convincing sense of an overall mood...knows what he wants...sure of what he’s doing.” Babcock’s mentors in Hollywood included Hugo Friedhofer, Paul Glass, and Earle Hagen. He won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series in 1992, one of eight total Emmy nominations in a ten-year period, as well as eight TV/Film awards from BMI.
In the concert music world, Babcock’s Pacific Serenades Trio, for clarinet, viola and piano, was commissioned by Mark Carlson’s Pacific Serenades series. He was chosen by Artistic Director Daniel Kepl to be composer in residence at the 2005 Santa Barbara Chamber Music Festival. The Donald Brinegar Singers premiered Babcock’s Night Songs, on poems of Sara Teasdale, in 2006.
SpringScape was the winning piece in the Debussy Trio 2006 Composition Competition. This Is What I Know: Four Poems of Dorothy Parker, commissioned by UCLA Professor of Voice Juliana Gondek, was one of the winners in the 2011 Boston Metro Opera Contemporary American Festival Competition, and was performed in Boston in conjunction with “Opera Conference America 2011.”
All Unto Me, inspired by and dedicated to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was performed with the Archbishop in attendance in 2011. Be Still, for a cappella choir, received its European premiere in November 2013 by the Haga Motettkör of Göteborg, Sweden, Mikael Carlsson, Music Director, and its New York City premiere in 2016 from The Antioch Ensemble.
Bruce’s first Navona album, TIME, STILL, was released in 2015. Eleven Los Angeles musicians are featured in this collection of chamber, vocal, and choral music.
Event Horizon, an orchestral piece with video compiled from images of the NASA-Hubble Space Telescope, was premiered by the Space Coast Symphony in 2017. It was recorded by the Wembley Players in London, with the composer conducting, and was released on the Navona album SPARKS in 2016.
Give Me Your Stars, commissioned by Grammy-winning soprano Hila Plitmann, premiered at Mason Home Concerts March 17, 2018. Imagined/Remembered, a sonata for cello and piano, appears on the 2018 Navona album MOTO BELLO, performed by cellist Ovidiu Marinescu and pianist Anna Kislitsyna. They also performed Imagined/Remembered at Carnegie Hall in May of 2018, and on tour in China in the spring of 2019.
Be Still was included in the July 2019 Navona EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS album by the multiple-Grammy-winning choir The Crossing. Another 2019 Navona album, QUADRANTS VOL. 3, included The Present Moment, performed by the Altius Quartet.
In both 2018 and 2019 Bruce was commissioned to compose works for the Mount Wilson Observatory Concerts in the Dome series.
Navona releases in 2020 with Bruce's music include ETEREO, with flutist Lindsey Goodman performing Soliloquy, PLAYING ON THE EDGE VOL. 2, with the Sirius Quartet performing Watcher of the Sky, and THROUGH GLASS, featuring Grammy and Emmy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng performing Alternative Facts.