Picture: Bruce Brubaker by Devin Doyle
Picture: Bruce Brubaker by Devin Doyle

Bruce Brubaker

According to Pitchfork: “Bruce Brubaker is one of the most exciting pianists in the contemporary American classical scene.” Brubaker was one of the first solo pianists to play the music of Philip Glass.

The New York Times wrote: “Few pianists approach Philip Glass’s music with the level of devotion and insight that Bruce Brubaker brings to it, precisely the reason he gets so much expressivity out of it.”

Brubaker is featured on Meredith Monk’s album Piano Songs and Nico Muhly’s album Drones. Brubaker has performed with Meredith Monk, John Cage, and Nico Muhly. Dance music and electronic music artists, including Plaid, Donato Dozy, Max Cooper, Laurel Halo, Francesco Tristano, Akufen, and Arandel have remixed Brubaker tracks. In his continuing performances, from the Hollywood Bowl and New York’s David Geffen Hall, to London’s Barbican and the Philharmonie de Paris — Bruce Brubaker is a visionary artist.


1. The piano is a machine (made of metal and wood), but when you hear different people play the same piano, you hear a different sound from each person.

2. Best coffee—Abraço in New York City.

3. Occasionally, my grandmother played the piano to accompany silent films.

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

The people who listen.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I started taking piano lessons from the lady down the street. But things changed when my mother brought home a recording of pianist Vladimir Horowitz. I decided: “I want to do that!”

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach

Franz Schubert’s Winterreise

Meredith Monk’s Cellular Songs

Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue

Robert Lortat playing waltzes by Frédéric Chopin

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

The Volksbühne, the iconic theater with its remarkable building, history, and atmosphere. (I played an all-Philip-Glass concert there.)

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

If you walk around my block, you come to an old mill pond that’s covered with water lilies—and sometimes there are swans.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Difficult to imagine, because if there is sound, there is music.

7. What was the last record/music you bought or listen?

ECM’s big retrospective collection—Meredith Monk: The Recordings.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Anish Kapoor and Laurie Anderson

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

I loved playing in Nuit blanche at the Philharmonie in Paris. The concert hall is open with no admission charge. During the long night, something like 30,000 spectators came through.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

Technology has been with us a long time—the piano is technology, the violin is technology. Now, new technology is helping us understand better what humans do when we make music.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your music?

No, I asked my parents not to have more children.