A Brief Bio
After completing his bachelor’s in guitar performance at MSU in Wichita Falls, Bruce continued his studies at UNT in Denton earning his master’s degree in guitar performance in 1983. While at Denton, he performed in classes for Oscar Ghiglia, David Russell, Pepe Romero and Peter Segal. He also began performing at various events in the Dallas/Ft Worth region while still a student at UNT.
Since then, Bruce has continued to perform and teach throughout the North Texas region. Based in Wichita Falls, he has performed at locations like the Mansion at Turtle Creek in Dallas, the St. Cecilia Hotel in Austin, the botanical gardens in both Ft. Worth and Amarillo, the Dallas Arboretum, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Blinn College in Bryan/College Station and the Kemp Center for the Performing Arts in Wichita Falls. Primarily playing within a 300 mile radius from Wichita Falls, his travels include all the places mentioned above but also locations in Oklahoma including Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
He has recorded 3 solo guitar CDs. In 2002 he recorded the 20 Studies by Fernando Sor followed by Soliloquy in 2003 and Il Chittarra Romantico in 2008. Soliloquy is comprised of music by Bach and Spanish and Latin American composers such as Isaac Albeniz and Augustin Barios. The music of Italian guitarist composers Mateo Carcassi and Mauro Guilinai is found on Il Chitarra.
He has arranged many popular tunes for pedagogical purposes as well as music for specific performances. With over 20 Beatle tunes arranged for solo guitar, his arrangements also include music from the Eagles, James Taylor, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, Journey and many other contemporary artists.
In 1998, he founded the guitar program at Rider High School in Wichita Falls where he teaches full time and typically has around 110-120 guitar students each year. Many students never touched a guitar prior to enrolling in the program. At the end of 3 years in the program, most of the students compete in the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest held in late spring at the UT campus in Austin.
There are 3 levels taught which typically have 16 to 20 students in each class. The first level focuses on fundamentals of music and guitar technique, mainly classical but with some reference to other styles to keep the interest alive in each student. The second level addresses more specific elements of technique with a much heavier emphasis on music theory and its application to the guitar. Classical technique and repertoire is the main focus in the second level The final level continues the process begun in the second level, but with a more individualistic approach and is extended over the course of the final 2 years of high school. Its emphasis is definitely on college readiness.
As a group, the students in the final level perform in the community on average 10 to 20 times a year doing music from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century eras. Typically the student ensemble perform music by Dowland , Sanz, Bach, Mozart, Debussey,Tchaikovsky, Albeniz, York and Zenamon just to name a few.
In addition to his teaching duties at Rider, he also is the adjunct guitar professor at Midwestern State University where 5 to 7 students study classical guitar yearly. The guitar students at MSU work specifically on music from the classical repertoire including composers such as Sor, Guiliani, Tarrega, Brouwer, Bach, and Dowland.
With all these musical endeavors, Bruce continues to maintain a following of dedicated private students averaging 20 individuals meeting weekly for 30 minutes. Most students taking privately continue lessons for at least 3 or more years. A few in the past have continued study for as long as 10 years.
copyright 2011-16 © Bruce Canafax