Bruce Babcock is an Emmy-winning composer of music for television, film, and the concert stage. A former SBCC student, Bruce’s favorite thing about the college is the location. As he puts it, “Where else can you find a community college in such a beautiful setting?” While attending SBCC, Bruce was influenced by Bob Davis, who led the jazz band. “[He] was probably the biggest influence on me and provided me with the most encouragement.” After graduating with an Associate of Arts Degree in Music, Bruce transferred to California State University, Northridge, where he received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in music composition. Regarding his transfer experience he says, “All of my credits transferred straight across and the smaller class sizes at SBCC were a big plus compared to what I would have found as a beginning student at a four year college.” While still a student, he won a Young Musicians Foundation (Los Angeles) competition for his Music for String Orchestra. The premiere was conducted by Calvin Simmons at Royce Hall, UCLA.
Bruce has spent most of his career writing music for television and film, learning his craft from such Hollywood luminaries as Hugo Friedhofer, Earle Hagen, and Paul Glass. He has earned eight Emmy nominations for his work in television. A member of BMI, he has received eight BMI TV/Film Awards, and has conducted and orchestrated for such films as Green Hornet, Superman, Green Lantern, Blood Diamond, Blades of Glory, Tropic Thunder, King Kong, Die Hard, and Lethal Weapon. Bruce was composer in residence at the 2005 Santa Barbara Chamber Music Festival. His Night Songs was premiered by The Donald Brinegar Singers in January of 2006. The Debussy Trio 2010 album Look Ahead (Klavier Records) includes Bruce's SpringScape, the winning piece in their 2006 Composition Competition. His irrational exuberance is the first track on the 2008 Douglas Masek CD EclectSax (Centaur Records). His string quartet the present moment was performed in October of 2009 as part of the 30th Anniversary Season of the Armadillo String Quartet. His compositions were performed at the Beverly Hills International Music Festival in 2006, 2010, and 2011. His other concert works have been performed by the Kansas City Symphony (Orchestral Sketches), the San Francisco Chamber Players (Initiation for tenor and chamber orchestra, on texts of Rainier Maria Rilke, featuring Jonathan Mack of the Los Angeles Music Center Opera) and in such venues as UCLA's Royce Hall and the Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Bruce is also a former faculty member of Santa Barbara City College, Ventura College, and Moorpark College.
Did SBCC prepare Bruce for his illustrious career? “Yes,” he says. “At SBCC I was able to perform with the jazz, concert and pep bands, and the orchestra, and sing in the choir. I also composed/arranged music for most of those groups, for a multitude of concerts and shows. Freshmen and sophomores at four-year schools would likely not have had the same variety of opportunities. This was all due to Bob Davis and Harold Dunn.”