Bruce Craig Roter


Bruce Craig Roter (b. 1962) was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Hauppauge, Long Island. Roter’s earliest compositions were chamber works written for family gatherings (his grandfather was a violinist and his brother a cellist). Formal studies began in 1979 at the Juilliard School’s preparatory division where Roter studied composition with Craig Shuller and music theory with Bruce Adolphe. Roter continued his education at the Eastman School of Music where he studied composition with Joseph Schwantner and Samuel Adler, and orchestration with Christopher Rouse. Roter received a B.M. from the Eastman School of Music (1984), a M.A. in Musicology from Yale University (1985), a M.A. in Composition from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1987), and a Ph.D. in Composition/Music Theory from Rutgers University (1992). Since 1998, Roter has received annual awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He has also been awarded grants from the Meet the Composer Foundation and the American Music Center. Roter has been the recipient of commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts (1999, a Continental Harmony commission for Spiritscapes, a South Dakota Cantata), the Albany Symphony Orchestra (2001, a New Voices commission for TR: A “Bully” Portrait), the Carson City Symphony (2002, a 20th anniversary season commission for With Courage and Compassion, (A Salute to First Responders), and the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra (2004-05, The Days of Struggle and Discovery), and the College of Saint Rose (2008, Those Who Build…). With a richly tonal palette, Roter’s musical style balances soaring lyricism with passages that are bold and heroic. Melodies are frequently interwoven, creating exciting contrapuntal textures. Roter writes for all standard concert media, from songs and choral works to compositions for chamber ensembles, concert band, and orchestra. Roter often finds inspiration in world events and social issues. His A Camp David Overture (Prayer for Peace) was inspired by the Camp David Peace Accords and is dedicated to the signatories of that historic peace initiative–former President Jimmy Carter, former Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat, and former Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The 2006 Washington DC premiere brought together diplomats from all over the world, including Egypt and Israel. In a 2001 interview, the conductor David Alan Miller observed that Roter has found a successful niche by exploring American heritage in his music. Under the direction of David Alan Miller, Roter’s tribute to Theodore Roosevelt received its world premiere with the Albany Symphony Orchestra in 2001. On July 4th, 2002, it was given its North Dakota premiere by Tom Wellin and the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony. This performance, at the North Dakota State Capitol, was narrated by Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone LeRoy Lehr. Among the dignitaries present were North Dakota Governor John Hoeven, and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). Another notable 4th of July performance (in 2000) was the world premiere of Spiritscapes (A South Dakota Cantata). Written for the Sioux Falls Municipal Band and Master Singers, the work expresses the beauty of South Dakota and the relationship of South Dakotans to their land. The July 7th encore performance was attended by U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, who in a speech to the U.S. Senate, cited Spiritscapes (A South Dakota Cantata) as a successful example of the work of the NEA. Roter’s music has been performed throughout the U.S. It has also been webcast, televised and docuented by PBS. Additionally, Roter often appears on radio, television or in pre-concert lectures to introduce audiences to his music. Roter’s publishers include MMB Music, Inc., Transcontinental Music, and Coho Music Publications. His Three Short Songs (on poems by Judah al-Harizi) has been recorded by the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music Series. A music educator as well as a composer, Dr. Roter has taught at Rutgers University, Jersey City State College, Mesa Community College, Linfield College, and Skidmore College. Roter is currently Associate Professor of Music at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. He resides in Albany with his wife, Monique, and their three daughters.


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