The Canadian League of Composers
Associate Composer-The Canadian Music Centre
Canadian Playwrights Guild of Canada
Bruce Ruddell graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1975. Since then he has been an active member of the arts in Canada and the United States for the past 40 years as a composer, arranger, music director, conductor, playwright, artistic director, and record producer. His compositions for concert halls have been performed and broadcast worldwide.
His talent for building bridges between musical disciplines and cultural traditions has been a cornerstone of his career, and he has been widely recognized for this. Many of his projects have involved collaborations with First Nations artists and he is proud to have received a Special Honour Award at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in 2009 for his extensive work with First Nations projects. That same year, another project which Bruce produced, arranged and performed on won a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award – The CD New Journeys sung by Lalaxaaygans: Beautiful Sound, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson received the “Best Female Traditional / Cultural Roots” Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMA). This recording is a remarkable project in that it blends contemporary and classical instrumentation with Haida song – which is a break from tradition, as Haida music has always been vocals and drums only. He first began collaborating with the Haida Nation more than twenty years ago when he was asked to create a score for the CBC film on the making of Bill Reid’s ocean-going cedar canoe the Lootaas for Expo 86.
A collaboration with renowned Haida artist Bill Reid to create a thirty-minute concert presentation in celebration of Reid’s sculptural masterpiece The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii was a highlight for Ruddell. The oratorio has been recorded and broadcast nationally many times as well as being filmed for CBC and Bravo broadcasts. Recently the work opened the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver. The two soloists were both First Nation performers.
The Bill Reid Foundation appointed Bruce as Artistic Director with a mandate to create a full-scale concert presentation to bring awareness to not only the objectives of the Foundation but awareness of Haida art and culture, particularly traditional Dances, Songs, and Regalia. The concerts spanned two nights at the Chan Centre in Vancouver and were filmed by the CBC for their Opening Night series.
Over the years Bruce has also worked with the Lushootseed people of the Seattle area. Vi Hilbert, the nationally prominent Elder, commissioned him to write a symphony for the Seattle Symphony based on two sacred healing songs of Chief Sealth (Seattle). Ruddell wrote a fifty-minute work that incorporated rhythms, instruments, and speech of the Looshootseed people. The performance was sold out and was given several standing ovations. Gerard Schwarz, the conductor, announced to the audience that they had just heard a masterpiece.
A film documenting the creation of the symphony has its Worl Premiere on March 29 at Seattle University. The Film is titled: The Healing Heart of Lushootseed.
In 2010 Bruce’s original theatrical show Beyond Eden, a Vancouver Playhouse/Theatre Calgary/2010 Cultural Olympiad co-production completed successful runs in Vancouver and Calgary. In 2013 The Belfry Theatre in Victoria produced his music theatre work. Let Me Call You Sweetheart. The piece ran to sold-out houses for five weeks.
Mr. Ruddell recently received a Canada Council grant (playwriting) to create a play based on the Chilcotin War of 1864. He has been endorsed by the Chiefs of the Tsilhqot’in nation to proceed with telling the story of what happened to their nation during the smallpox epidemic of 1862 and the war with the colonials that followed the genocide.
Mr, Ruddell has conducted choirs for twenty-six years. In December 2019, Bruce was awarded the prestigious Herbert Drost Award from The B.C. Choral Federation for his distinguished service and support of Choral music in B.C. He founded and was the artistic director of Tuned Air, for eighteen years. Tuned Air was a fifty-voice mixed choir that enjoyed much success on Saltspring Island where it was based and in Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Quebec City, and Montreal. The choir shared the stage with such notable Vancouver choirs as ELEKTRA , Cor Leoni, and The Vancouver Bach Choir. The choir also enjoyed working with many well know soloists and a concert with Leon Bibb, titled The Art of The Spiritual was recorded and broadcast by the CBC for Canada Live. Mr. Ruddell was the artistic director, for six years, with The Sooke Community Choir. This choir too enjoyed much success performing in Sooke, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Victoria. As well, the choir was invited to share the Mainstage as part of Victoria’s Canada Day celebrations.
2008- Canadian Aboriginal Music Award- Special Jury Prize for Mr. Ruddell’s career and ongoing work with First Nations’ music projects in Canada and the United States.
1998- Composer-in-Residence- Vancouver Bach Choir- Bruce Pullan-Music Director
1993 -Composer-in-Residence -Vancouver Chamber Choir-Jon Washburn Music Director
1990- Composer-in-Residence- (Eric Harvie Award)- Charlottetown Festival-Walter Learning-Artistic Director
1989 -Composer-in-Residence -Vancouver Chamber Choir-Jon Washburn Music Director
1988- Finalist- Composer-in-Residence Canadian Opera Company
1986- Composer-in Residence-Vancouver Playhouse- Walter Learning-Artistic Director
List of Compositions for Concert Halls and Radio and Television Broadcasts
2022- The Healing Heart of the First People of this Land-University of Western Washington orchestra. November 9
2021-ongoing- The Plague Diaries is a full-length music theatre work commissioned by The Canada Council.
2020- Tale Of A Whale– SATB- keyboards, guitars- Bruce Ruddell-Vocal-Choral Evolution.
2019- Hail Gaia!– Commissioned by Pauline Le Bel. Mixed voices, piano, and cello.
2018- Crawling Trees-Mixed Voices, guitars, percussion. (Mortal Coil commission)
2017/18-Walk Along The Water-Mixed voices, guitars, keyboard, Uzume Taiko Drummers, Wolfpack-Musqueum singers, and dancers. (Mortal Coil commission)
2017- ongoing-The Five Seasons – commissioned by Haida Artist Robert Davidson and the Music Division of Canada Council. Full-length postmodern oratorio (80 mins.) for mixed voices and orchestral ensemble.
2013- The Spirit of Haida Gwaii-excerpt- The Windsor Symphony-Choir-Martin Macdonald-Conductor, Six String Nation Choir. Windsor, Ont. (5 mins.)
2013- Rock Music For The Erratics– electroacoustic score commissioned for visual artist Jean Wellburn’s installation at The Stationhouse Gallery in Williams Lake, B.C.-40 mins.
2011-New Journeys– CD and performance project with Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson-soloist. Percussion, Cello, Acoustic and electric guitars, Keyboard. Conducted by Bruce Ruddell- Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver BC, The Friendship Centre, Skidegate, BC, Headline concert on the Victoria legislature lawn-July 1st 2012 celebrations-42 mins.
2009- Vigil– performed by the Borealis String Quartet and The Christ Church Cathedral choir, conducted by Rupert Lang, honoured the missing and murdered women of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and the Highway Of Tears. This thirty minute work has had multiple broadcasts on a number of CBC radio programs.
2008-The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii– Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Melody Mercredi-Mezzo Soprano and Clarence Logan-Baritone –Rupert Lang conductor. Opening concert for the 2010 Cultural Olympiad- 30 mins.-Vancouver
2005- The Healing Heart Of The First People Of This Land-a commission from revered Lushootseed Elder, Vi Hilbert for The Seattle Symphony; conducted by Maestro Gerard Schwarz. This fifty minute work was a feature part of The Made In America Festival and was performed to a sold out, standing ovation in Benaroya Hall-Seattle. The U.S. television broadcaster PBS is in the process of making a feature documentary on the creation of this work.
2002- The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii-Vancouver Bach Choir, Vancouver Symphony, Judith Forst-Mezzo Soprano, John Avey-Baritone, Iwan Edwards-conductor- CBC television (Opening Night Series)- 30 mins. The Chan Centre-Vancouver
2001- All Faces– Music Intima, Sal Ferreras, percussion- 18 mins.-Vancouver
2000- The Sprit Of Haida Gwaii-Saint Lawrence Choir-Ensemble Amati, Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra, Nathalie Paulin-Soprano, John Avey-Baritone, Iwan Edwards-conductor-Radio Canada and Radio 2 broadcasts-30 mins.-Montreal
2000- 13 Soundbytes For Spring– Bremerton Symphony Orchestra (USA), piano- John Welsh-conductor- 20 mins.- Bremerton WA
1999- Te Deum- Handel Society Choir-Abbotsford Symphony- Lynn Wiiliams- Soprano, Elizabeth Mabee-Alto, Lance Clinker-Tenor, Willy Grenzberg-Baritone, Johan Louwersheimer-conductor-25 mins. White Rock BC
1998-The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii- Vancouver Bach Choir-Judith Forst-Mezzo Soprano, Mark Pedrotti-Baritone- Bruce Pullan Conductor- CBC Radio 1 and 2 broadcasts-30 mins.- Orpheum- Vancouver
1996-EARTHPRAYERS, a massive ninety-minute oratorio that opened the 11th World AIDS Conference in Vancouver. Three hundred of the city’s most accomplished musicians and singers, including the Vancouver Bach Choir, ELEKTRA, Chor Leoni, the Vancouver Symphony, the CBC Radio Orchestra, MET star Judith Forst and Tony Award winner Brent Carver performed this work. Conducted by David Agler.
1994- To Music– Commissioned by the International Educator’s Conference held in Vancouver. 300 mixed voices from Vancouver, Trombone, Percussion, Trumpet, Tympani, Piano, Harp- conductor-Bruce Ruddell- 20 mins. Pan Pacific Conference hall-Vancouver
1996- Te Deum– Handel Society Choir-Abbotsford Symphony- Katherine van Kampen- Soprano, Elizabeth Mabee-Alto, Marcel van Neer-Tenor, Richard DeVillier-Baritone, Johan Louwersheimer-conductor-40 mins.-Abbotsford BC
1995- A View To The Sea– Abbotsford Symphony- Johan Louwersheimer-conductor-10 mins.-Abbotsford BC
1993- Jelly Belly Dreams– Vancouver Chamber Choir- Jon Washburn conductor- 30 mins. (Jaymar publication)-Vancouver
1992- The World Is As Sharp As A Knife-CBC Radio Orchestra-Vancouver Chamber Choir-Benjamin Butterfield-Tenor, Candace Burrows-Mezzo Soprano, Jon Washburn-conductor- 90 mins.-Museum of Anthropology-Vancouver
1991- Rainforest Suite – Commissioned by the CBC Radio Orchestra- Vancouver Chamber Choir–CBC Radio 2-15 mins.-Vancouver
1991-Rainforest Suite-Vancouver Chamber Choir-Bryn Nixon-Organ -Jon Washburn-conductor-15 mins. CBC Radio 2- Vancouver
1990- Lamb Of God– Prelude and Three Interludes for three concert harps Vancouver Chamber Choir/Chanticleer- Jon Washburn-conductor-8 mins. CBC Radio 2, CD- Rise Shine. Orpheum-Vancouver
1989- Not In A Manger-Vancouver Chamber Choir- Jon Washburn-conductor-5 mins. CBC Radio 2 (Lawson-Gould publication)-Vancouver
1989 Through Adam’s Eyes (four movements) Vancouver Chamber Choir- Jon Washburn-conductor (published by Lawson-Gould) 20 mins.-Vancouver
1988-The River– Soprano and piano- 8 mins. (Canadian Opera Company finalist performance for composer in residence)-Toronto
1987- All Faces– This commission for The Vancouver Chamber Choir and percussionist Salvador Ferreras premiered in the Great Hall in Beijing and was part of the VCC’s historic tour of Mainland China and Hong Kong. Conducted by Jon Washburn-18 mins.
1986-Mass in A minor-Toronto Opera Chorus, Mendelssohn Youth Choir, Robert Cooper Conductor- 20 mins. (Commissioned by The Stratford Festival) Toronto
1984- Ghost Song– Victoria Wind Orchestra-15mins.-Victoria BC
1983- Evening Diversions– Vancouver Schools String Orchestra- 15 mins. Vancouver
1975-78- Composer/Music Director for the Tamahnous collective.
1975- The University of British Columbia- B.Ed. Secondary .
Bruce Ruddell was born in London Ontario in 1951.