US orchestra mourns formative CEO, 71

US orchestra mourns formative CEO, 71


norman lebrecht

November 22, 2022

St Paul Chamber Orchestra has shared news of the death from cancer of the cellist Bruce Coppock, its former President and Managing Director. Bruce led the ensemble from 1999 to 2008 and again from 2013 to 2016.

The SPCO says:

Under Coppock’s leadership, and because of his vision and tenacity, the SPCO moved away from the traditional orchestra artistic leadership model, centered around a music director, to a musician- led model complemented by artistic partners. Coppock believed that by empowering the orchestra members to make the important artistic decisions, including selecting repertoire, that concerts would be even more compelling and dynamic for the community.

“It is no exaggeration to say that no single person had a greater role in the SPCO’s artistic trajectory over the last 20 years than Bruce Coppock,” said SPCO Artistic Director and Principal Violin Kyu-Young Kim. “His fervent belief that the SPCO’s ultimate success as a chamber orchestra was dependent on the SPCO musicians themselves rather than a single conductor led to a complete transformation of the ensemble. Without the force of his intellect, musical knowledge and expertise, managerial acumen, and innate leadership skills, this kind of transformation could have led to a steep decline in artistic quality and distinctiveness. Instead, the SPCO today is playing at its highest level ever with fantastic artistic partners and a clear artistic profile, and we owe so much of this to Bruce’s vision and leadership.”


  • drummerman says:

    We went to the New England Conservatory at the same time and I played many concerts with him. I believe he had been battling cancer for some time. RIP.

  • David Hyslop says:

    Bruce first came into my life when I asked him to be the General Manager of the St. Louis Symphony in 1987 during my tenure as CEO .

    In 1991 I left St. Louis to become CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra. Bruce replaced me as CEO of the St. Louis Symphony .
    As mentioned above, Bruce then took on the CEO of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1999.
    He did a magnificent job and we remained colleagues and friends over these many years.

    The courage he, and his wife Lucia showed, battling his cancer
    was something to behold.

    Great talent, great person who made a positive difference.

  • Harold Clarkson says:

    Bruce was one of the finest managers in our business. Always creative, and always a gentleman. I will treasure the many times we spent exchanging ideas, looking for new ways to present the orchestra, and talking about music in general. He had an innate enthusiasm that was infectious. He is a great loss to all of us in the music business. RIP dear Bruce from one former Cellist to another.

  • Annabelle Hoffman says:

    Bruce and I were at NEC together, I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. It’s wonderful that he was able to use his immense creativity, originality and chutzpah ( things that often got him in trouble in school !) and do so much good for the music world. He will be missed.