Bruce MacCombie was born in Providence, Rhode Island and died in 2012 in Amherst, Massachusetts. He first studied composition with Philip Bezanson at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he earned a B.A. in 1967 and an M.M. in 1968. In 1971 he earned a Ph.D. in music from the University of Iowa. He also studied with Wolfgang Fortner at the Freiburg Conservatory on a post-doctoral grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). After four years in Europe, he was appointed to the Music Theory faculty at Yale University in 1975 and one year later was appointed to the Composition faculty at the Yale School of Music. While at Yale he coordinated an annual series of new music concerts and taught various seminars relating to 20th Century music literature.
From 1980 to 1986 he served as Vice President and Director of Publications for G.Schirmer and Associated Music Publishers, from 1986 to 1992 as Dean of The Juilliard School, from 1992 to 2001 as Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, from 2001 to 2002 as Executive Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and from 2002 to 2006 as Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is currently Professor of Music.
MacCombie’s music has been commissioned by such organizations as the Jerome Foundation, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Seattle Symphony, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the Bath International Guitar Festival, and the Juilliard School. His works have been recorded on the BGS label, Virgin Classics, BIS Singapore, and the Eastman American Music Series. Performances have taken place at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Seattle Opera House, the Kennedy Center, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Alice Tully Hall, and the Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore.
In 1979 MacCombie was awarded one of the first Goddard Lieberson Fellowships by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Other awards have included the Sutherland Dows Fellowship, a Yale University Creative Research Grant, a Martha Baird Rockefeller travel grant to Warsaw, and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in 1986 from the University of Massachusetts.
MacCombie has served on the Charles Ives Society Board of Directors, as Vice President of Composers Forum, Inc. in New York, on the Piano Today Artist Advisory Board since 1987, as Keynote Speaker for the Massachusetts Music Educators National Conference in 1996, as Arts Consultant to the College Board for the U.S. Information Agency in 1997, and as composer and jurist for the Bath International Guitar Competition since 2004.
MacCombie’s works are published by Schott Music Publishing/New York, London, and Mainz.