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Bruce's Recommendations

This is a list of resources mentioned by Bruce A. Russell during his interview with Elizabeth Robinson. The resources are listed alphabetically.

Ann Southam


Ann Southam was a Canadian composer and teacher who lived from 1937 to 2010. Initially interested in visual arts, she began composing at age 15, inspired by her time at the music summer camp run by what is now known as The Banff Centre. In 1968 she became the composer-in-residence for The New Dance Group of Canada. Her musical style evolved from electronic to electroacoustic to orchestra and chamber music. 

Black Legal Action Centre

In 2017, the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) was set up as a not-for-profit corporation to deliver legal aid services to low and no income Black Ontarians. BLAC offers a wide variety of legal aid services, including legal representation and public information sessions. BLAC also advocates for community development and actively seeks to challenge individual and systemic anti-Black racism.

Learn more about their organization and services at their website.

Black Lives Matter Toronto

"#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc. is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives."

Learn more at

Breonna Taylor

Breonna Taylor was a Black EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers during a raid on her apartment in March 2020. Following her death, the purpose and execution of the raid were called into question, and her death prompted protests around the world against systemic discrimination and police violence against Black communities. In January 2021, two of the Detectives involved in the raid and Breonna Taylor's death were fired, but no charges have been laid.

Learn more about Breonna Taylor in this article by the New York Times.

You can also donate to Breonna Taylor’s family.

Bunita Marcus


For Bunita Marcus, available at the Music Library.

Bunita Marcus is an American pianist and bass clarinetist who began composing when she was 13 years old. She studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she focused on electronic and instrumental music, and received her Ph.D. in Composition from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1981. Dr. Marcus continues to compose, conduct, and perform around the world.

Castle of our Skin

Castle of our Skin is a concert and educational series devoted to celebrating Black artistry through music. Castle of our Skin promotes equity in composer representation, and designs their concerts around themes of Black feminism, civil rights, and much more.

Learn more at their website.

Christina Petrowska Quilico


Christina Petrowska Quilico on Pond Life, performing music by Ann Southam. CD available at the Music Library.

Christina Pertowska Quilico is a Canadian pianist who made her orchestral debut at 10 years old. At 14 years old she co-won a concerto competition in New York, and subsequently trained in Russian and European traditions at Juilliard, and then in Paris and Germany. Since then she has performed around the world with leading Canadian orchestras as well as international orchestras and conductors.

She has been awarded the 2007 Friends of Canadian Music Award and the 2010 Harry Freeman Recording Award. In 2014, CBC Music named her one of 20 Can't-Miss Classical Pianists of 2014, and in 2015, they named her one of The 25 Best Canadian Classical Pianists. Four of her recorded CDs have been nominated for Juno Awards, including Glass Houses Revisited, part of a 7-disc series of compositions by Ann Southam which Quilico recorded.

Quilico is author of two books, and also founded The Christina and Louis Quilico Award, which runs through the Canadian Opera Company and is intended to foster youth operatic talent. She is currently a Full Professor of Piano and Musicology at York University.

In 2020, Quilico was appointed to the Order of Canada “for her celebrated career as a classical and contemporary pianist, and for championing Canadian music.”

"The Cosby Show"

"The Cosby Show" was a TV show that ran from 1984 to 1992, and centered on the lives of the Huxtables. Based on the standup comedy of Bill Cosby, the show focused on his observations of family life. As a sit-com centered on an upper-middle class African-American family in Brooklyn, the show was considered revolutionary for representation of African-Americans in TV. Due to later scandals associated with Bill Cosby, the show is currently difficult to find on streaming channels.


Drake is a Canadian TV and rap/hip-hop celebrity. He rose to fame through his role as Jimmy Brooks on "Degrassi: The Next Generation". After leaving the the show, he signed with the label Young Money Entertainment and began his rap career. Since then, he has won 4 Grammy Awards and been nominated an additional 33 times.

Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance

The Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches (Op. 39) are a series of five (or six) marches for orchestra, composed by Sir Edward Elgar. The original composition consisted of four marches published between 1901 and 1907. A fifth was published in 1930, shortly before Elgar's death. Finally, a sixth was compiled from sketches Elgar left behind after his death, and was published first in 1956 and then again in 2005-2006. The six marches are probably the most well-known of Elgar's compositions.

You can listen online through the Music Library.

Eve Egoyan


Eve Egoyan's recording of Simple lines of enquiry by Ann Southam, available at the Music Library.

Eve Egoyan is a Toronto-based pianist known for her focus on creating and commissioning new contemporary music. She has recorded 12 solo CDs, and in 2019 received the Muriel Sherrin Award. Her current work focuses on merging the traditional acoustic sound of piano with new technology to create a new and unique instrumental sound. She is also an advocate of gender equity in the music community.

Several of Egoyan's recordings are available through the Music Library, including her 2009 CD Simple Lines of Enquiry.

Florence Price


A recording of Florence Price's first and fourth symphonies by the Fort Smith Symphony, conducted by John Jeter, available through UTL's Naxos Music Library subscription.

Florence Price was an American composer and pianist who lived from 1887 to 1953. She was the first African American woman to have an orchestral work performed by a major American orchestra.

She began her studies in composition at the New England Conservatory in Boston in 1903. She also received an Artist's Diploma in organ and a piano teacher's diploma, after which she taught at several schools, including the music department of Clark College in Atlanta. In 1927, she and her husband moved to Chicago, where she studied at the American Conservatory and the Chicago Musical College. In 1932, she won first prize in the Wanamaker competition for her Symphony in E minor, and it was premiered in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

Throughout her career, Price performed for silent films and commercial purposes, and composed and arranged for orchestras, soloists, and choirs. Despite composing over 300 pieces, most of her corpus remains unpublished. 

You can find several of her scores at the Music Library.

George Floyd

On May 25, 2020, a convenience store employee called the police to report that George Floyd, a customer at the store, had paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Police arrived to arrest the suspect, and 17 minutes later George Floyd was unconscious, having been restrained and pinned down by three police officers. Thanks to security cameras and bystander witnesses, the illegal and fatal actions of the police officers involved were quickly revealed and four police officers were fired the next day. George Floyd's death fueled the protests around the world which had already begun following the death of Breonna Taylor, and increased the demand for police defunding in the US.

You can learn more about George Floyd's death in this New York Times article. Trigger warning: the article contains details of George Floyd's last moments, as well as a video analysis of the events surrounding his death.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN (ICIYL) is a platform for living musicians to share resources and participate in conversations about contemporary classical music. ICIYL was founded in December 2010 by Thomas Deneuville, and was acquired by the American Composers Forum in September 2020. Part of its mandate is to be an advocate for historically underrepresented or marginalized artists.

James Brown

James Brown was an American singer, songwriter, arranger, and dancer who lived from 1933 to 2006. Growing up during the Great Depression, he experienced extreme poverty and learned drums, piano, and guitar from neighbours. At 18 years old, he formed a gospel group which later caught the attention of musician Little Richard. The connection lead to a hugely successful musical career, during which Brown became known for his proudly Black musical statements. In 1986, Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1992 he received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2003 he received a Kennedy Center Honor.

James Tenney


James Tenney's CD Pika-don, available at the Music Library.

James Tenney was an American composer, teacher, pianist, and conductor who lived from 1934 to 2006. He studied piano at The Juilliard School of Music, and then transferred and received his BA from Bennington College in 1958. In 1961, he received his Master of Music from the University of Illinois, during which he developed computer programs to model composition. He pursued his interests in combining music and technology at Bell Telephone Labaratories, doing electroacoustic research and developing programs for computer sound-generation and composition.

In 1963, Tenney was a founding member, conductor, and pianist of the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble, and in 1973 was founder and musical director of Tone Roads West in LA. In 1989-90, Tenney won an oustanding technical achievement award from the International New Music Composer's Competition for his work Bridge, and in 1993, he received a Jean A. Chalmers Award for Critical Band.

Tenney also taught at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn from 1965 to 1970, at the California Institute for the Arts from 1970 to 1975, at the Universty of California from 1975 to 1976, and at York University from 1976 to 2000.

You can find Tenney's album Pika-don at the Music Library and explore related materials in the Music Library Archives.

Jesse Wente

"Jesse Wente is an Ojibwe broadcaster, curator, producer, activist, and public speaker. He is Head of TIFF Cinematheque, where he oversees the historical film programme year–round at TIFF Bell Lightbox. An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit art, he has spoken at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit, CMPA’s Prime Time, and numerous universities and colleges. He appears weekly on CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning and recently curated a series of five short films for CBC Arts titled Keep Calm and Decolonize. Wente currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts."

John Coltrane


John Coltrane's recording A love supreme, available at the Music Library.

John Coltrane was an American tenor and soprano saxophonist, bandleader, and composer who lived from 1926 to 1967. Over a 30 year career as a saxophonist, Coltrane played with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, and the Miles Davis Quintet. In 1960 he founded his first band.

A love supreme

A Love Supreme is an album by John Coltrane, recorded in one session on December 9, 1964. He led the quartet, and was joined by pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. It was one of his bestselling albums and is generally considered to be his magnum opus.

Julius Eastman


Julius Eastman appears on the Meredith Monk's CD Turtle Dreams, available at the Music Library.

Julius Eastman was an American composer, conductor, singer, pianist, choreographer, and performer who lived from 1940 to 1990. He performed in venues such as the Lincoln Center, and was unabashedly proud to be a gay Black man in America. Sadly, despite his musical popularity, he died alone and homeless and his music was not rediscovered until 2005.

You can read more about Julius Eastman through the University of Toronto Libraries. You can also access CDs of his music at the Music Library.

Linda Catlin Smith


Linda Catlin Smith's work Among the Tarnished Stars appears on the CD Memory Forms, available at the Music Library

Linda Catlin Smith is an American composer currently living in Toronto. Her compositions have been performed by performers and groups around the world, and in 2005, her work Garland was awarded the Jules Léger Prize. She was the Artistic Director of the Toronto ensemble Arraymusic from 1988 to 1993, and she was a member of URGE (a multidisciplinary performance collective) from 1992 to 2006. 

Smith currently teaches composition, both privately and at Wilfrid Laurier University.

You can find the score for Linda Catlin Smith's piece, "Among the Tarnished Stars," at the Music Library.

Louisville Community Bail Fund

The Louisville Community Bail Fund is a project of BLM Lousiville. The Bail Fund was created to help overcome the financial barrier of the requirement of cash bail, a requirement which unfairly targets individuals from low income areas and families, especially Black people and people of colour. The Bail Fund not only helps provide bail, but also supports individuals who have been released and does activism and advocacy to challenge systemic discrimination in law enforcement.

You can learn more about the Louisville Community Bail Fund at their website.

Loving v. Virgina and Anti-miscegenation laws

Loving v. Virginia (388 U.S. 1) was a precedent-setting civil rights decision in 1967. In 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving were sentenced to a year in prison as a result of their marriage. The Racial Integrity Act of 1924, in Virginia, criminalized marriages between white people and people of colour. As a result, Mildred (a woman of colour) and Richard (a white man) were not legally permitted to marry.

Following their incarceration, the Lovings appealed their conviction to the Supreme Court of Virginia, and then to the US Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court ultimately ruled that laws banning interracial marriage (also known as miscegenation laws) violated the Fourteenth Amendement to the US Constitution.

You can read more about the Loving case in this article, available through the University of Toronto Libraries.

Luciano Berio

Luciano Berio was an Italian composer, conductor, theorist, and teacher who lived from 1925 to 2003. In 1954 he co-founded the Studio di Fonologia Musicale at Milan Radio, which went on to become one of the leading electronic studios in Europe. He was known for his avant-garde style, fusing various electronic styles.

Throughout his career, Berio taught at schools such as The Juilliard School and Harvard University. In 1996 he received the Japan Art Association's Praemuium Imperiale prize. In 2000, he became president and artistic director of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Find relevant materials in the Music Library and its Archives.

Madawaska Quartet

Madawaska Quartet.jpg

The Madawaska Quartet's CD Prefab, available at the Music Library.

The Madawaksa Quartet is a Toronto-based group founded in 2001. They perform a wide variety of musical styles, including contemporary, mainstream, Baroque, and everything in between. The group includes four main performers—Jeewon Kim, Sarah Fraser Raff, Anna Redekop, and Amber Ghent—as well as two pianists in the group's incarnation as the Madawaksa Ensemble—Leslie Kinton and Brett Kingsbury.

The Madawaksa Quartet has performed with artists from around the world, and has been featured in festivals around the world. As a group, they are focused on encouraging music education and have worked as chamber music faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, in addition to giving workshops at institutions such as the Univerity of Toronto and York University. The group also takes every opportunity to promote new works by Canadian composers.

The Madawaska Quartet appears in several recordings available—online or as CDs—through the Music Library, including Prefab, which features "Madra" by Bruce A. Russell.

Madras String Quartet

Madras String Quartet (MSQ) is a chamber music group based in Chennai. The group focuses on combining Southern Indian classical music with western harmonic principles. The group was founded in 1993 by V.S. Narasimhan.

Malcolm X


Recording of the opera X the life and times of Malcolm X by Anthony Davis, available at the Music Library.

"Malcolm X , original name Malcolm Little, Muslim name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, (born May 19, 1925, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.—died February 21, 1965, New York, New York), African American leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam who articulated concepts of race pride and Black nationalism in the early 1960s. After his assassination, the widespread distribution of his life story— The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)—made him an ideological hero, especially among Black youth."

A recording of the opera X the life and times of Malcolm X by Anthony Davis is available at the Music Library.

Martin Luther King Jr.


A catalog of music written in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. by Anthony McDonald, available at the Music Library.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American Baptist minister and activist, and the most prominent leader of the civil rights movmeent in American from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King supported non-violent civil disobedience, encouraging protests against segregation and systemic racism. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35, and donated the prize money to the civil rights movement.

Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. on the Nobel Peace Prize website.

You can find A catalog of music written in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. by Anthony McDonald, at the Music Library.

Meredith Monk


Meredith Monk's CD Do you be, available at the Music Library.

Meredith Monk is an American singer, composer, director, and choreographer. Her works include the creation of new opera, music theater, films, and installations. She is also considered a pioneer in  “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance”; her works combine music, movement, images, light, and much more to explore the limits of the voice as an instrument. 

In 2014-15, Monk celebrated 50 years of creating and performing. In the same year, she was appointed the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall. In 2015, she was also the recipient of the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. In 2017, she was awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and in 2019, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

You can read more about Meredith Monk in books and articles, watch videos of her performances or interviews, and listen to her works on CDs or online, all available through the University of Toronto Libraries.

Michael Brown

On August 14, 2014, Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. This death of a young, unarmed Black man prompted protests throughout Ferguson, prompting an FBI civil rights inquiry into Michael Brown's death. Almost 6 years later, Michael Brown's name was chanted along with those of other victims of police violence and anti-Black discrimination by BLM protestors in the summer of 2020.

You can read more about Michael Brown's death in this New York Times article. Trigger warning: the article provides a timeline of Brown's death and the events of the 2 weeks following it, including details of the autopsy report.

Morton Feldman

Morton Feldman was an American composer who lived from 1926 to 1987. Inspired by Abstract Expressionist painters, Feldman began to compose using graphic notation in the 1950s. In the 1960s he returned to conventional notation, but his style of composition was generally avant-garde and minimalist.

You can find scores of Feldman's works in the Music Library.

The Music Gallery

The Music Gallery was established in 1976 by members of the Canadian Creative Music Collective (CCMC). It's mandate is "to foster innovation and experimentation in music" and serves as a centre for contemporary music across genres.

Philip Glass


Philip Glass' CD Einstein on the Beach, available at the Music Library.

Philip Glass is an American composer. He studied at the University of Chicago, The Juilliard School, and with various artists throughout Europe. His compositions have included 25 operas, 12 symphonies, and several concertos for a variety of instruments. Glass's musical style focuses on what he calls "music with repetitive structures," also referred to as minimalism. He has also contributed to experimental theater, film, pop, rock, and world music.

In 1967, he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble, which features seven musicians on keyboards and woodwinds, being amplified and mixed. Philip Glass continues to perform as a soloist and with the Philip Glass Ensemble, as well as lecturing and running workshops around the world.

You can watch interviews, read books, or listen to music by Philip Glass through the Unviersity of Toronto Libraries.

Phillip Werren


Phillip Werren, Stone witness Summer evening, available at the Music Library

Phillip Werren is an American composer currently living in Toronto. He is Professor Emeritus at York University, where his research focuses on the intersection music composition and pedagogy with technology and computer applications. His compositional works range from film to mime to theatre, as well as instrumental and vocal works. 

You can listen to  Phillip Werren's album Stone witness Summer evening on CD at the Music Library.

Sandra Bland

In July 2015, Sandra Bland was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in Texas. Three days later, she died while in police custody. Her death, labelled a suicide, was called into question by family members and became the impetus for the 2017 Sandra Bland Act, which was passed in Texas and was meant to improve police treatment of individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues. Her death has also been cited by BLM protestors as further proof of the racial injustices perpetrated against Black people and people of colour within law enforcement.

A Seat At The Table

A Seat at the Table is an album by the American singer-songwriter, Solange, released in September of 2016. The album features collaborations with artists such as Lil Wayne, The-Dream, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Kelela and David Longstreth. The lead single of the album, "Cranes in the Sky," won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. The album explores themes of rage, despair, and empowerment, and builds on experiences of integration, segregation, and racism in America.

"Soul Train"

"Soul Train" was a music-dance TV show that highlighted African-American art, artists, and performers. The show was created by Don Cornelius, an American TV host and producer. The show ran for 35 years, and was hosted by Cornelius for 22 years.

Steve Reich

Steve Reich is an American composer whose works have been performed by orchestras and ensembles around the world. Reich studied composition with Hall Overton, as well as attending The Juilliard School of Music and receiving his Master of Arts from Mills College. 

Reich has been the recipient of many awards throughout his career, including the Praemium Imperiale Award in Music, the Polar Music Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

You can learn more about Steve Reich's impressive career on his website.

You can listen to Reich's 1985 album The Desert Music on CD at the Music Library, as well as many others.

Karlheinz Stockhausen


Karlheinz Stockhausen's recording Trans, available at the Music Library.

Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer and musician who lived from 1928 to 2007. Stockhausen was known as a creator and theoretician of electronic and serial music, and was an inspiration to avant-garde musicians in the 1950s. He is particularly well known for his 7 part operatic cycle, Licht

Read more about Karlheinz Stockhausen in Grove Music Online, through the Music Library.

You can also read more, and access scores of his music, through the University of Toronto Libraries.

Trayvon Martin

In 2012 Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American boy, was walking home from the convenience store when he was fatally shot by a neighbourhood watch volunteer. The shooter was not initially charged, which prompted outcry from Martin's family and  protests across the US. The shooter was then charged with second-degree murder, but was acquitted in 2013.

Following Martin's death and his shooter's acquittal, the Black Lives Matter Network was formed by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi.

World Galaxy


Alice Coltrane's album World Galaxy, available through UTL.

World Galaxy is an album by Alice Coltrane, released in 1972. The album features 5 tracks, including two which Bruce specifically recommends: "Galaxy in Turiya" (track 3) and "Galaxy in Satchidananda" (track 4).

You can listen to the album online through the Music Library.

Zyxygy Concerto by Donny Hathaway

Donny Hathaway (1945-1979) was an American soul singer, keyboard player, songwriter, and arranger. He wrote the Zyxygy Concerto for piano and orchestra in 1973. Listen to a performance of this piece from the album Never My Love: The Anthology (Atlantic Recording Corporation, 1973) on YouTube.

Bruce A. Russell
Bruce's Recommendations