Chamber Music for audiences of any age by Bruce Adolphe

Bruce AdolpheBruce Adolphe is not only a celebrated composer, but also an author, innovative educator, and a versatile performer. His profound creativity is apparent from the many positions he has held, from resident lecturer and director of family concerts for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, to founding creative director of The Learning Maestros, and comic keyboard quiz-master of the weekly radio program Piano Puzzlers. As a composer, Adolphe has written works for many of the world’s most renowned artists. Among his best works are numerous compositions that are favorites with kids and family concerts, many of them written specifically for these audiences. We’ve compiled this list of selections from his instrumental and chamber works we think you’ll both enjoy and hopefully find helpful in planning your next concert for kids of any age!

Bird Songs (13′)
Soprano, Flute, Violin, Piano
Includes four songs set to anonymous poems. Movements: Introduction, A Merry Bird, Poor Thing, Magpie, and “Cuckoo, What Do You Do?”. Composed for the Itzhak Perlman Family Quartet.
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Bitter, Sour, Salt Suite (24′)
Violin Solo, Optional Narrator
The project to pay musical and poetic tribute to food was hatched by Itzhak Perlman and the composer during discussions and while eating and sometimes drinking. The result was this delectable piece about food for violin with narrator (can be the same performer). Poems by Louise Gikow.
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City Sounds (4′)
A short piano piece with audience participation composed especially for a children’s concert with Orli Shaham. Premiered March 20, 2011 at Le Poisson Rouge.
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119312Coyote Scatters the Stars (7′)

Violin, Piano (optional speaker)
Commissioned by the Museum of Mathematics in New York for its grand opening gala benefit, the music is based on a Native American story. The violin portrays Coyote and the piano represents everything else, especially the stars themselves. It is recommended that the story which is included with the music be told to the audience before the work is performed to enhance the enjoyment and comprehension of the piece.
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Drumming a Dream (40′)
Narrator, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Percussion (1 player)
This Indian folk tale is about a girl named Kalpana’s adventures as she searches for the talking drum that has spoken to her in dreams. The script by Bruce Adolphe and Preeti Vasudevan captures the wonder of the story, weaving in sounds of the drum with audience participation. Indian folk dance is featured throughout with Choreography by Preeti Vasudevan.
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Farmony (5′)
String Quartet with kids’ audience participation
A short interactive string quartet especially for youth concerts where kids in the audience pretend to be farm animals. Written for Sharon Roffman and the Stone Barns Quartet.
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Goldilocks and the Three Bears (18′)
Narrator, Oboe, Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano Commissioned/ recorded by An die Musik with Dr. Ruth Westheimer narrating the composer’s witty and modern take on a classic fairy tale.
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BW web coverInto a Cloud (5′)
Oboe, Piano, Optional Narrator
A brief fable with optional narration from The Learning Maestros catalog about a teenage boy named Lan Tsai Ho whose character is portrayed by the oboist.
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Little Red Riding Hood (15′)
Narrator, Oboe, Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano
Commissioned/ recorded by An die Musik with Dr. Ruth Westheimer narrating the composer’s witty and modern take on a classic fairy tale.
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Marita and Her Heart’s Desire: A Chamber Music Fairy Tale (22′)
Actress (Narrator with multiple Voices), Piccolo, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trombone, Perc(1), Harp, 2 Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass
A charming story of a young girl who goes searching for her heart’s desire, which only the moon atop Harper’s department store can unveil to her. With enchanting music and a story by a writer for the Muppets and Sesame Street, Marita’s a pure delight.
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OceanophonyFrontcoverwebOceanophony for Chamber Ensemble (35′)
Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Cello, Bass, Piano, Percussion. Slideshow available.
Plunge into an ocean of music and meet the sarcastic fringehead fish, stoplight parrotfish, a love-struck seahorse, and more. Also available for chamber orchestra.
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The Amazing Adventure of Alvin Allegretto (50′)
Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Bass-Baritone, Boy Soprano Soli: Clarinet, Perc(1), Cello, Piano.
In the town of Harmony, everybody sings…everybody, that is, except Alvin Allegretto. His parents take him to see one expert after another to find a cure for his strange condition but only Alvin, with the help of the audience, can find the answer. Music and story by Bruce Adolphe; libretto by Sarah Schlesinger. Commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
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The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (25′)
Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, Percussion, Children’s Voices, Narrator. Slideshow in development.
Pulsating drums, evocative melodies, and the haunting sounds of a children’s chorus bring to life this beautiful Native American story with text by Paul Goble. Commissioned by Boston Musica Viva, Richard Pittman, Conductor.
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Time Flies (19′)
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, 1 Percussion, Harp, Violin 1 solo, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Double Bass
Artist Eric Rohmann’s Caldecott Honor-winning picture book comes to life through a magical musical score that portrays a little bird caught in a dinosaur exhibit of a natural history museum. Commissioned by the 15th annual Chicago Humanities Festival and premiered by Fulcrum Point New Music Project.
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ToughTurkeyCdPicTough Turkey in the Big City (30′)
Clarinet, Trumpet, Bass Trombone, Piano, Violin, Percussion, Narrator
A charming and funny Thanksgiving tale featuring the bass trombone as the protagonist, Tom the Turkey.
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Urban Scenes (12′)
String Quartet
An interactive work. Kids play toy bird calls, car horns, and an alarm clock.
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Witches, Wizards, Spells and Elves: The Magic of Shakespeare (36′)
4 Actors (3 Female, 1 Male), 1.1.1.1: 1.1.1.0: Perc(1): Str (1.1.1.1.1)
Experience the magic and sorcery in Shakespeare’s plays as solo instruments portray the main characters in this enchanting work. May be enhanced by actors introducing the movements with scenes from the corresponding plays.
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Zephyronia (30′)
Narrator, Woodwind Quintet
On the distant planet Zephyronia, wind power is the solution when Flora and Flutter teach the emperor that there is more than one way to run a planet. Story by Louise Gikow. Commissioned by EverPower with additional funding from the La Jolla Music Society.
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Adolphe “Einstein’s Light” and Spring Update

FollowinEinstein's Light front coverg the release of Imaginary Films’ documentary motion picture by Nicholas Barris Einstein’s Light in November 2015, the world premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s score took place on 11/25/2015 in Amsterdam.  Keiser Classical is releasing this month the exclusive violin and piano edition, with bowings and fingerings by Joshua Bell. For more information on the new issue, please write to us.

Einstein was a violinist all his life. In the motion picture “Einstein’s Light”, filmmaker Nickolas Barris and composer Bruce Adolphe set out to communicate Einstein’s dedication to the violin and his particular love for the music of Mozart and Bach.

This collection of music composed for the soundtrack is based on phrases from those two great masters that spin off into physics-inspired dreams and thoughts. It contains a poignant solo violin piece based on music by Bach and four pieces for violin and piano that are based on phrases from Mozart’s music. The composer includes one work in particular, the Mozart Violin Sonata K. 378, notable because the only extant recording of Einstein playing the violin contains the slow movement from this sonata. The soundtrack to “Einstein’s Light” was recorded by Joshua Bell and Marija Stroke on Sony Classical Records.

Additional recent and future performances of include: Off The Hook Arts in Colorado on 2/13/2016, 2/14/2016, and 2/16/2016, where violinist Clara Lyon played the first two dates, Emily Ondracek-Peterson (seen here playing “Einstein’s Light” courtesy of Colorado Public Radio) performed the third, and composer Bruce Adolphe accompanied on piano for all three.  The New York premiere is presented by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and will take place in Alice Tully Hall on 2/28/2016 in a program dedicated to introducing Einstein’s love of Mozart’s music to children and families.  And a performance will take place at the Museum of Mathematics in New York on 9/14/2016, featuring Mark Steinberg on violin and Marija Stroke on piano.  Available from Keiser Classical in mid-March; email us for details.

Bruce Adolphe is currently composing an opera in collaboration with the novelist Richard Powers, author of Orfeo and The Time of Our Singing, among many other novels. Scenes from the opera, called “The Origin”, will be previewed at the Off the Hook Arts Festival in Colorado in June, 2016, featuring soprano Christie Conover and tenor Joseph Gaines.

Bruce Adolphe has recently composed a work commissioned by violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv. The piece, called “Fantasia Krushelnytska”, is inspired by the life of Solomiya Krushelnytska, the great Ukrainian soprano whose career was cut short by the Soviet occupation.

Adolphe’s Suite for Pete, a solo guitar work in four movements dedicated to the memory of Pete Seeger and inspired by his work in civil rights, will be premiered by Eliot Fisk at the Off the Hook Arts Festival in Colorado in June 2016.

Bruce recently teamed up with Kal, the political cartoonist of The Economist and Baltimore Sun, for a series of improvisational interactions between Tunes and Cartoons, featuring Kal’s drawings and Bruce’s piano puzzlers, as well as spontaneous simultaneous improvisations based on audience suggestions. This took place in Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado, in January, 2016.  Piano Puzzlers is available through Keiser Classical.

The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra performed both Tough Turkey in the Big City and Red Dogs and Pink Skies in the middle of last November, 2015.  Contact our rental department to inquire after performance materials.