The music of American composer Bruce Stark (born in San Diego and raised in Lakeside, California) reflects the varied elements of his musical upbringing: studies in percussion, jazz piano, and classical composition. After three years in college as a physics major he began formal studies in composition at California State University, Northridge, where he studied with Aurelio de la Vega and Daniel Kessner, twice winning the school's composition prize. He went on to complete a masters degree in composition at the Juilliard School as a student of Roger Sessions and Vincent Persichetti. Thereafter for more than 20 years he resided in Tokyo, producing a collection of works which reveal a unique and compelling musical voice, drawing from a multiplicity of disciplines and sensibilities. In 2013 he returned to the U.S. and joined the faculty of DigiPen Institute of Technology (Seattle area) as professor of composition and music theory. Recent commissions have included his Three Dances for flute, violin and piano from the Friends of Today's Music program of the Music Teachers Association of California, Suite for Horn, Trombone and Piano for Megumi Kanda (Milwaukee Symphony), Urban Nocturnes for German pianist Kai Schumacher and Suite for Two Tenor Trombones and Piano for Don Lucas. He was recently chosen as the 2019 Commissioned Composer of the Year by the Washington State Music Teachers' Association.
His music, ranging from solo piano and chamber music to choral and orchestral pieces, has been performed on the concert stages of four continents, recorded on numerous CDs and broadcast on radio programs worldwide. Awards include First Prize in the Composers Guild Contest, Second Prize in the Barlow International Competition, ASCAP composer awards and others. His compositions have been featured in the National Flute Association Convention, The American Piano Festival in Maryland, The International Trombone Festival, the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, Sakura Week at Kennedy Center, and Keys To The Future piano music series in New York City. Other performances have included the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Music School Festival Orchestra under Timothy Muffitt, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra under David Charles Abell, the Rapides Symphony under Joshua Zona, the Westwood Wind Quintet, flutist Paula Robison, pianists Anthony De Mare, Lisa Moore, Yuko Mifune and Chika Nagisa, Il Cantori Singers and Trio La Plage of Tokyo. Recordings of his works have been released by Victor Entertainment (Japan), Hanssler Classic (Germany), Centaur Records (US), Red Kite Records (Seann Alderking's performances of his piano works), and separate pieces are included in releases by vocal group Ars Nova, the Tokyo Clarinet Ensemble and numerous performers.
Stark's performances as pianist/arranger can be heard on several recordings (Victor Entertainment, Meister Music, ALM Records, Nami Records, MA Recordings and various independent labels). While in Tokyo he appeared as soloist, group leader and ensemble player in major concert halls throughout Japan as well as Shanghai's Grande Theatre, Kennedy Center, and on a six-country tour of South America sponsored by the Japan Foundation for cultural exchange. In 2013 he won First Prize in the solo jazz piano division of the Wild Flower Music International Recording Competition for his performance of Body and Soul.