Jerry gets to know his life and music


The world has finally caught up with Mahler, it seems. Along the way, Jerry Bruck gained a reputation as a recording engineer specializing in classical music. Today he is a life member, former governor, and a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society. He is also a founding member of the Gustav Mahler Society of New York and of the Internationale Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft in Vienna.

In 1962 Jerry Bruck presented the first radio broadcast cycle of Mahler's music over New York City's WBAI-FM. These 14 two-hour programs included extensive biographical material, including interviews with musicians and persons who knew Mahler. Research for this project led him to Mahler's widow, Alma. He helped to convince her to rescind her ban on the completion of her husband's Tenth Symphony. Austrian Television recently videotaped his recollections for a 90-minute biographical survey "Big Alma," on her life and its romantic involvements.

He also began a lasting friendship with Mahler's daughter, Anna. His researches have since brought him into close contact with musicians and scholars, who further encouraged his avid interest in the music and life of the composer. He has a small collection of Mahler memorabilia; some original manuscript pages, letters, and a plaster-cast copy of his death mask.

Jerry Bruck was directly responsible for the release of the suppressed first movement of Mahler's early cantata Das klagende Lied, as well as the early Piano Quartettsatz. He also assisted with the American premieres of those works and of the reconstructed Symphony No. 10. He produced and engineered the first commercial recording of Mahler's five-movement Symphony No. 1 (with "Blumine") for CBS/Odyssey, and co-engineered a later recording of the same work with James Judd and the Florida Philharmonic for Harmonia Mundi. In 1971 Jerry Bruck was awarded the Mahler Medal of the Bruckner Society of America.

In addition to records and CDs, Jerry Bruck has recorded sound for music-oriented film and video projects. His recording of Joe Wheeler's performing version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony (to which he also contributed the liner notes) is available from the Colorado MahlerFest. He has also recorded Symphonies 2, 3, (5, as of last May); 6, 7, 8, and 9, with Das klagende Lied and Das Lied von der Erde, in live concerts. Other recent CD releases of Mahler's music include his Third and Sixth Symphonies for Titanic Records (the latter also with Jerry's liner notes). At the recent MahlerFest XXII and XXIII in Boulder, CO, Jerry was privileged to conduct portions of Mahler's Third and Eighth Symphonies during their final dress rehersals (view the links above).

Dress rehersal for Mahler's Eighth Symphony
Photo by Stan Gayuski

He recorded the live concerts included in Jason Starr's video "Of Love, Death and Beyond: Exploring Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony." It is a DVD documentary about Mahler's Second Symphony, commercially available: VAI #4547. Jerry appears briefly in the video, to introduce several scenes. A few months ago he went to Geneva to record Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Suisse Romande Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi. The soloists were Thomas Hampson and Paul Groves. The resulting DVD, VAI #4559, and Blu-ray, VAI #BD8201, is now available for purchase. A reviewer of this DVD is quoted on Amazon ( "The camera work, beautifully directed by Jason Starr, captures all the detail without sacrificing the larger sweep of the piece. The sparkling yet spacious audio, presented in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, was recorded by Jerry Bruck." NB to Buyer: The Blu-ray/DVD may default to surround-sound, unless stereo is selected.

Bruck conducts the "Posthorn" movement from Mahler's Third Symphony
Photo by Aaron Z. Snyder

His most controversial project has been preparing a "White Paper" on Mahler's Sixth Symphony, "Undoing a 'Tragic' Mistake." It was subsequently published and distributed worldwide by the Kaplan Foundation. Intended to restore the correct order of its inner movements in modern performances and recordings, it has now been widely accepted as authoritative. The latest edition of the score, just published by C.F. Peters, now shows the movements in their correct order. In its Forward, Jerry received full credit for his work.

Click to download "The Correct Movement Order in Mahler's Sixth Symphony"
(published by The Kaplan Foundation in March, 2004)

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Most recent revision >October 3, 2013