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SPIRITUAL TO THE BONE
STEPHEN BULLA began his musical instruction at age six, growing up in a musical household where his father played tuba and his mother played piano. He eventually graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied trombone with Phil Wilson and Composition/Arranging with Herb Pomeroy.
In 1980 he won an audition for the position of Staff Arranger to "The President's Own" United States Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra in Washington DC. For the next thirty years he would provide musical scores for myriad White House events, beginning with the Reagan era until 2010.
Working alongside film score legend John Williams he has transcribed music from "Star Wars", "Catch Me If You Can", and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" for performances by the Marine Band with the composer conducting. He has also scored music for the Discovery Channel ("Wings of the Luftwaffe" and "Century of Flight") and the PBS television series "In Performance At The White House." On those occasions, his arrangements were performed by many artists including Sarah Vaughan, The Manhattan Transfer, Mel Torme, Doc Severinsen, Nell Carter, Shirley Jones, Larry Gatlin, and Jordan Sparks.
His commissioned concert works are performed and recorded internationally.The Dutch, British, Swiss and New Zealand Brass Band Championship organizations have all commissioned test pieces from his pen. According to a recent ASCAP survey, his music has been used on the following television programs: CSI Miami, Cold Case, Jag, Joan of Arcadia, Without A Trace, Guiding Light, Survivor, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, and Ren and Stimpy.
Among many composer highlights was a commission from the Library of Congress to complete and orchestrate the last known manuscript march of John Philip Sousa, titled The Library of Congress March (click the following links for an article about the project, to hear a recording of Sousa's completed march, and to download the music for the march for free). Another major project was created for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. For this event he was commissioned by the Brass Band of Huntsville (Alabama) to compose and conduct the premiere of the Von Braun Suite for band, narrator and NASA sourced video. On that occasion, held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, all living lunar astronauts were in attendance.
As a conductor, for fifteen years he directed the National Capital Band (Washington DC), producing several CDs and touring Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Scandinavia with that ensemble. He later served for thirteen years as music director of New England Brass Band and is presently music director for Brass Of The Potomac. As a frequent international band contest adjudicator, he received the President’s Award in 2015 from the North American Brass Band Association.
Stephen Bulla is an active member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and has received that organization's Performance Award annually since 1984. His published works can be found in the catalogs of Hal Leonard Music (USA and Europe), as well as in The Salvation Army's music publication catalog (UK).