I am a composer computer-musician multiple-flutist improvisor and music educator. I recently completed work at Daystar Academy, a private bilingual IB school in Beijing where I developed a unique G2-G10 music program oriented to ear-training, composing and improvising, sound-based inquiry and Found Sound Ensemble performance; Laptop Ensemble; in a word, a 21st century music classroom. I innovated a computer music lab approach to teaching music to middle school students at the same school. This is not conservatory style teaching; the focus again is on composition, improvisation, and listening skills through facilitating relatively quick productivity. Assuming students already have laptop computers, they use their laptops as instruments in performance, as composing and listening tools, and as a research vehicle. They have performance experience in laptop ensembles. These are solutions for high educational yield at little expense.
As a flutist, I has worked as principal orchestra flutist, solo recitalist, chamber musician, band member, studio sideman and an all-purpose free improvisor. As a multiple flutist, I have been a concert performer on the bass and alto flute, alto shakulute, Japanese shakuhachi, bansuri, glissando head joint flute, and Chinese Xun. During the 1990s, I made my living based in New York City as a new music specialist, frequently touring, especially with fellow composer Tan Dun. Since the late 1990s, I have composed interactive computer applications that include pitch-tracking intensive applications, and micro-controllers using the Cilia, my patented flute-controller instrument.
I was a founding member of the Syneme Telemusic Ensemble, a studio located at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing that facilitated tele-performances with collaborators from around the globe on an IPv6 network. My current music involves audio driven animation improvisation. I have long collaborated in other disciplines such as dance, installation, theater, and interactive video. A graduate level composer trained in the academy and experienced as working musician, I am well versed in acoustic composition as well.
An experienced performer, I was the first musician to perform live computer and free improvisation at the National Center for the Performing Arts (aka the Egg), the august and conservative flagship venue of the Chinese government across form the Forbidden City. I have been a chamber music soloist with The Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, soloist with orchestra at Wien Modern and the BBC Proms Festival at the Royal Albert Hall. I have improvised at the Knitting Factory Jazz Festival under Ornette Coleman’s direction. I participated in the punk/alternative movement during a heyday period at the Beijing club D-22. I toured over fourteen months as synthesiser programmer and soloist with the Peter Sellars/Tan Dun production of the KunQu opera, the Peony Pavilion.
I have a second Master's degree in Philosophy; music for me has always been an inquisitive form.
I develop concert formats where different performance practices meet; classical repertoire and improvisation, hi-tech electronic and acoustic, western and eastern, old and new, functional and ecstatic, auditory and visual. These interests in contraries and contradictions are born from my practical education as a participant in the free improvisation and experimental music scene in New York beginning in the late 1980s, where I was based until I relocated to Beijing in 2006. I relocated back to North America and the Kitchener-Waterloo area in the fall of 2022.
I have received numerous awards, my music has been performed around the world.
Please visit brucegremo.com.
Please visit vimeo.com/brucegremo.
I have spent the past decade developing music curriculums at a private school, for Elementary and Secondary school age groups. It was a privilege and an extraordinary opportunity to work and re-work what musical rudiments mean, and also classroom efficacy and efficiency. It was also my opportunity to hone administrative and leadership skills. For a time, I had two other teachers under my direction. The kids taught me more than I can say.
They taught me – the teacher who teaches listening – to listen more effectively.
Most beginner and intermediate students learn more effectively in groups. I prefer to teach in small groups of three or four. Twelve students in a class (four groups of three) is my preferred maximum.
I use computer in class for recording, listening, play-along, ear training. This can all be taken home for practice. Directed listening assignments are often required.
Peer approval and public participation are crucial incentives in musical development. If the objective is not clearly to become a professional musician, then the more traditional exam orientation is not the best way to encourage incentive, practice and enthusiasm. On this point, there is a huge adult population, aspiring musicians with no special interest to become professionals, who have much more to gain in groups.
Younger students can easily focus for longer sessions (45 minutes) when in small groups.
Producing quality sound quickly is important to enthusing entry level students about music in general. Further more it is also a way to encourage capable students with a waning interest to reinvest in music making.
Listening skills and exposure to the wealth and diversity of music is a surer way to engendering a sustainable interest in music. That is very true with adult students as well.
Small groups of three or four, are cost effective; four student classes cut the fee for each participant to 25% of a fixed hourly rate. Advanced students are of course most welcome for individual paced lessons; weekly lessons may be too frequent.
Achieving musical goals together is fun! An important word! In groups, other skills are also developed; leadership, problem solving, and socializing.
The first thing I do with a new class, is discover who the students are. It is an ongoing process, but at first a priority. What am I like as a teacher? Personable and available. In the classroom as in the performance world, I am both improviser and composer; prepared both for spontaneous problem solving, and to be the source for received learning, prepared both to be a resource for the unexpected, and to be a guide for anticipating expected outcomes. I typically generate my own class and teaching materials, aspiring to demonstrate through personal command of the topic at hand. Scores are my main primary source, as I endeavor to stay close to listening work. Intelligent listening is ever the root skill. Seminars are different, especially when topics engage readings from history or a current field. My expectation is that students hone existing critical skills and develop new ones for engaging scholarly communities. In all classrooms, the expected outcome is that the student acquire greater independence and discipline as a creator, problem solver and scholar. My intention is to excite their critical faculties. Whether or not they end up teaching, students need to be able to do so to optimally contribute to their respective communities. Teaching is the greatest learning experience, perhaps next to failure. Peer review starts in the classroom.
An effective teacher always seeks balance; between facilitating received learning and encouraging critical skill; between individual creativity and collective initiatives; between personal gratification and social generosity; between uproar and quietude; between control and it’s absence; between scheduled time management and time management oriented to task completion. The mood I hope to sustain; the repose that comes with balance.
Then the teacher can be said to have taught the student how to effectively continue teaching themselves.