Bruce Olstad

Bruce Olstad

Music Director
Department:

People who have worked with him describe him as “just a delight,” “so kind,” “very conscientious and dependable,” friendly and flexible, an excellent collaborator, and “a great guy,” as well as lauding his “wonderful keyboard skills,” his voice technique, and his talent as a vocal coach and choral conductor.  He conducted our adult choir as part of the interview process, and the singers described it as an educational and enjoyable rehearsal, praising Bruce’s approachability, leadership, knack for connecting with the choir, and understanding of what is fitting for Unitarian Universalist service music.

Bruce is the conductor of the San Benito Oriana Chorale, a community chorus that has expanded in size and grown in capability “by leaps and bounds,” according to its Board president, thanks to his leadership. He is a frequent collaborator with opera companies throughout the Bay Area, including West Bay Opera and Berkeley West Edge Opera, fulfilling diverse roles including assistant conductor, chorus master, pianist, and vocal coach. He was formerly chorusmaster for Opera San Jose, where he developed an excellent working partnership with our pianist, Veronika Agranov-Dafoe. He also has experience conducting a church choir, working with groups whose members have a wide range of musical expertise, doing vocal coaching, and leading instrumental groups. Bruce is an excellent pianist and a published lyricist, and is trained in composition and arrangement.  He lives in San Jose and, having lived and worked in the Bay Area for over a decade, he brings to us many connections to area musicians.