Robert James Bruce (born October 7, 1962, in Hamilton, Ontario) is a Canadian composer/pianist. He published his first book of piano music in 1991 under his own company, Celestial Music Publications, and his first CD in 1995.
Bruce's earliest compositions were exclusively for the piano, but he has since branched into writing for other instruments, including vocals, as well as into other forms of media, including performances with dancers and visual art.
1.1 The Composer,
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Since the late 1970s composer/pianist Robert Bruce has developed a diverse catalogue of original music that includes music for young children; piano repertoire for students (which is used by all the major music conservatories in Canada for formal piano examinations, is performed in many music festivals each year and is included in the 3rd edition of the well-known reference book Pianists' Guide to Piano Literature by Dr Maurice Hinson); music for film, television and animation; music for healing and meditation; piano works; ensemble works; orchestral works; music for various multimedia presentations and a collection of modern artsongs. His music, often displaying subtle blues-impressionistic elements in its basic language, is harmonically tonal but its true character has defied all existing genres and categories; he has termed his overall style and genre, as well as his performing ensemble, "Classical Nouveau".
Self-directed and primarily self-taught, by his early-twenties Bruce had begun a dedicated lifelong study of how music and spirituality are inherently interrelated, a study that continues to hold great fascination for him. He advocates that true music and creative expression are inherently therapeutic and that the key elements for creative/artistic fulfillment are aesthetics and utilizing one's own natural desires and abilities. In 2007 he completed his first book "In Between the Lines - Book One", a 10-year project, which outlines the philosophy on music he has discovered and developed over many years. His second book " In Between the Lines - Book Two " is in progress and details his highly intuitive approach to writing music.
By contemporary standards, the music of composer Robert Bruce would almost certainly be considered very conservative in terms of its melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements. In what he considers his best work there is little or nothing in this regard that one couldn't find in much of the music from a hundred years ago. He hears and writes music in terms of musical ideas, or "musical icons", as he calls them, that seem to resonate on many planes of consciousness simultaneously, and he seeks to present those ideas in their purest form. Often sharply against the tide of the musical trends of recent decades, he continues to favour clean and simple elements in his music and uses colouring notes and embellishments very sparingly.
Where his music is truly ultra-modern and quite distinctive is in its overall tone, atmosphere and musical effect, in its highly "visual" nature, and in its multidimensional purpose. There is seldom, if ever, anything deliberately showy or flashy in his work but he rather strives for a depth, purity and honesty that resonates more beneath the surface. He claims to have discovered an inherent creative power in fundamental tones and their harmonic overtones that serves as the basis for his entire musical vocabulary and approach to composition. He feels that, with inspired ideas and musical elements that "sound well", "very little packaging is usually needed". His approach to writing music will be detailed in his second book "In Between the Lines - Book Two" which will be published in the near future.
The lyrics he writes for his artsongs often touch upon the themes of romance and spirituality and sometimes explore what they have in common. Audio samples of his music can be found on his personal website. The Classical Nouveau Ensemble is designed to express, complement and broaden his music and his approach to creative expression in general.