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Bruce Montgomery

Bruce Montgomery

Bruce Eglinton Montgomery (1927-2008), frequently referred to as “Philadelphia’s Renaissance Man” and called “a whirlwind of musical and artistic involvements” by the Associated Press, was – quite literally – larger than life. As a composer his works ranged from premieres with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia (now the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia) to a hit Off-Broadway show, and from countless choral works and arrangements to organ processionals, light operas and musical comedies. As a founding member and actor, and then as Director, of The Gilbert & Sullivan Players of Philadelphia, “Monty” (as he was affectionately known by his students and friends) became an internationally recognized authority on Gilbert & Sullivan’s unique genre of satire. He inherited this legacy from his father, renowned tenor James Montgomery. In the late 1960’s, after receiving unanimous critical acclaim for his Off-Broadway musical, The Amorous Flea, Monty made a conscious decision to forego a potentially lucrative career as a Broadway composer/lyricist in favor of returning to the University of Pennsylvania to fulfill his first love as an educator. For fifty years as Director of undergraduate performing arts at the Penn, Monty’s passionate dedication to mentoring thousands of gifted students created a unique opportunity for young people to explore their talent, to hone their artistic skills and, finally, to spread their wings and fly. He was the Director of the Penn Glee Club, Mask & Wig, the Penn Players, the Penn Singers and other prestigious music and theatrical groups on campus. His encouragement inspired many of his students to pursue professional careers as producers, directors, conductors, instrumentalists, choreographers, actors, singers, teachers, and theater administrators. In 2005 the University of Pennsylvania Press published Mr. Montgomery's autobiography, Brothers Sing On! My Half-Century Around the World with the Penn Glee Club, to critical acclaim. At the time of his sudden and unexpected passing in June 2008, Monty left behind a huge body of work and ongoing projects in various stages of completion. These included book manuscripts ready for publication, numerous choral works, poetry, and the strong likelihood that his original musical, Jesse, would be produced on Broadway. Because interest in this treasure trove has continued unabated since his passing, his family donated his intellectual property to establish a foundation in his name. This ensured that all future royalties, licensing fees and sales of his published and yet-to-be-published work would serve as the catalyst to build a strong endowment to fund the Scholarships & Grants program of the Bruce Montgomery Foundation for the Arts. Monty’s life’s work is the Foundation’s inspiration. But ongoing fundraising efforts are critical to achieving its goal of providing significant financial support for future generations pursuing careers in the performing arts. 


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Samuel French Titles by Bruce Montgomery