Bruce Kiesling

Conductor, University Orchestra

Schizo-musical, Bruce is often confused about what kind of music he loves the most. All of his time on the podium suggests he’s a “classical” guy, but he’s also been seen on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl conducting with Stevie Wonder and Latin superstars Juanes and Gloria Estefan.

His current Music Director positions include the Adrian Symphony and the Tulare County Symphony. As music director of the latter, ticket sales and sponsorships have increased to record levels and his concert comments and insider stories have become popular additions to programs. The orchestra’s artistic profile has grown as well, including this season’s performance of “The Rite of Spring,” a cycle of all of the symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, and the continuation of a Mahler cycle. Bruce’s other passion is music education, where regularly works with outstanding youth orchestra programs. For five years, Bruce was the YOLA conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic where he led multiple orchestras of different levels including most of the 700 students at YOLA’s three sites.  YOLA is Gustavo Dudamel’s signature music education program, which brings free-of-charge musical opportunities to underserved youth in Los Angeles.

Bruce has conducted at the country’s most storied halls, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and Walt Disney Concert hall. Bruce has worked with Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Tai Murray, Alexander Paley, Lindsay Deutsch, Jennifer Check, Anthony Dean Griffey, Gary Hoffman, Darren Criss, Stevie Wonder, Ricky Minor, Grace Potter, Jason Alexander, Lonny Price, Jodi Benson, Doug LeBrecque, Doc Watson, David Holt, Gospel performers Richard Smallwood and Curt Carr, and his orchestra’s have accompanied multiple performances with The Airborne Toxic Event, Clay Aiken, Natalie Cole, and Michael Bolton among others. He also spent 8 years as resident conductor of the wonderful Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina before relocating to California. Following that, Bruce was the Assistant Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops and music director of the most advanced ensemble of the highly regarded Pasadena Youth Symphony.

Bruce is active in higher education where he served for three years on the faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College: MAT program (Master of Arts in Teaching). Currently, Bruce also leads the University Orchestra and opera performances at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Then there’s also his addiction to film music, which finds its way on to many of his concert programs, including full performances of the films “Psycho” and “Casablanca.” And also there is his whole musical theater phase where he served as musical director for dozens of productions including the original production of Darren Criss (of TV’s “Glee”) “A Very Potter Sequel,” which became a top ten hit on iTunes. He also musical directed the five-time Emmy winner “The News in Revue,” and “They’re Playing Our Song” at Reprise Theater starring Jason Alexander.

Bruce holds graduate degrees from the University of Michigan, The University of Miami, and The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Recent guest conducting appearances include the The Pacific Symphony, The Long Beach Symphony, San Luis Obispo Symphony and the Adrian Symphony. Next season includes guest conducting appearances with the Owensboro Symphony, The Fresno Philharmonic, and a return performance with the San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra.

In spite of his intrepid schedule, Bruce somehow finds time to vacation a bit. Most recently, Bruce learned that downhill skiing really is like riding a bike (in the sense that after you haven’t ridden a bike in five years you might fall of a couple of times before you remember how it’s done). And he considers it the greatest tragedy of his life that he hasn’t seen a broadway show since “Wicked” opened (and that was a long time ago now). However, he’s grateful that LA has such a lively theater and film scene to enjoy, where Bruce makes too-often appearances at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood, easily the world’s greatest movie theater.

Associate Professor
Music Center 146