Bruce Coppock has enjoyed a long and varied career as a cellist, teacher, musical entrepreneur, and arts administrator. He passionately believes that every musical endeavor is fundamentally and crucially an artistic exploration, and has never lost his sense of awe and idealism about the magic of music. As a 12-year survivor of a deadly cancer, he credits music—and teaching—with the spiritual power to help him through challenging periods.
Between 1999 and 2016, Coppock was the longest-tenured president & managing director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, serving both as the artistic and the executive leader of the organization. He was executive director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1992–1998. He has also held senior executive positions at Carnegie Hall, the League of American Orchestras and the Cleveland Orchestra.
Coppock was active as a professional cellist for the 20 years prior to 1990, when his left hand was broken in a car accident. He was co-founder, cellist, and executive director of the Boston Chamber Music Society from 1982–1990. He also served as the director of chamber music and orchestra activities at the New England Conservatory of Music, and director of the Music Division of the Boston Conservatory. He was the cellist of the Boston Musica Viva, principal cellist of the Handel & Haydn Society, and played regularly as an extra player in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Coppock has been active as a cello teacher and chamber music coach for 40 years, and was variously on the faculties of the Boston and New England Conservatories, the Longy School, Brown University, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Minnesota. Coppock earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in cello from the New England Conservatory, where he was a student of David Soyer, Laurence Lesser, Benjamin Zander, and Rudolf Kolisch.
Coppock’s teaching philosophy combines inquisitiveness and free thinking with rigor and a profound appreciation for the received wisdom of our mentors. It is grounded in the belief that students develop most completely by being their own best teachers, learning to synthesize all of their influences into coherent points of view. It is a slow, osmotic process that responds most vividly to the search for questions. Teaching in so many ways is like studying. It’s all about taking joy in the unending process of learning, the quest for understanding, the quest for insight, and the quest for meaning. The great German poet said it better than anyone: “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”