Biography

This blog's title is derived from a quotation by Dan Bennett in the Saturday Evening Post (1963): "How monotonous the sounds of the forest would be if the music came only from the Top Ten birds."

Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Bruce Hodges grew up in Texas, where he studied voice, piano, violin and visual arts. Playlist, age 16: Luciano Berio Sinfonia, Dmitri Shostakovich Two Pieces for String Octet, Steve Reich Violin Phase, Terry Riley A Rainbow in Curved Air, Charles Ives Violin Sonatas, Conlon Nancarrow Studies for Player Piano, Harry Partch Castor and Pollux, Mauricio Kagel Der Schall.

At Antioch College he studied visual arts with Jonathan Ahearn and music composition with David Stock, then received a B.F.A. in drawing and painting from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Claudia Betti and Henry Whiddon. He moved to New York in 1981. He is President of the New York Consortium for New Music (Continuum, Da Capo Chamber Players, ModernWorks, The New York New Music Ensemble, Newband, and Speculum Musicae), which from 1991 through 2002 produced Sonic Boom, “considered by some to be the country’s leading contemporary music festival” (The New Yorker), and has also served as President of the board of directors of Ensemble Sospeso.

Since 2003 Bruce has written about music and visual arts for Seen and Heard International (based in London), artcritical, and Playbill, including program notes for concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. In 2005 and 2006 he appeared as a panel moderator at the Look & Listen Festival, and served as Contemporary Music Projects panelist for the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. In 2008 he served as a juror for the Look & Listen Prize, and at Columbia University's Miller Theatre, interviewed composer Jason Eckardt and poet Laura Mullen for Eckardt's Composer Portrait. In 2011 Bruce interviewed Poul Ruders prior to the premiere of his opera Selma Ježková at the Lincoln Center Festival.

For the Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF), Bruce has interviewed Berlin-based composer Toshio Hosokawa during an evening of his music by the JACK Quartet (2009), and Olga Neuwirth with the Talea Ensemble (2011). In 2012 Bruce interviewed Klaus Lang for a concert of his works by the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Agata Zubel for the ACF's Tenth Anniversary concert by Klangforum Wien.

Since 2007, Bruce has written a monthly column on recordings for The Juilliard Journal. In the fall of 2010 he became North American Editor for Seen and Heard International, and in 2012 began writing for The Strad.