One of the most admired choral conductors in the United States, GRAMMY® winner Charles Bruffy began his career as a tenor soloist, performing with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in recordings as well as concerts in France and at Carnegie Hall.Shaw encouraged his development as a conductor, and in 1996 he was invited by American Public Media’s Performance Today to help celebrate Shaw’s 80th birthday with an on-air tribute. In 1999, The New York Times named him as the late, great conductor’s potential heir.
Bruffy has been artistic director of the Kansas City Chorale since 1988. He has been chorus director for the Kansas City Symphony Chorus since 2008 and was artistic director of the Phoenix Chorale from 1999-2017. He has been director of music at Rolling Hills Church since 1994. He conducts workshops and clinics across the U.S., including teaching at the Westminster Choir College Summer Conducting Institute since 2006.
In the summer of 2013, Bruffy was involved with the Anúna International Choral Summer School in Dublin, Ireland, and in 2014 conducted the Kansas City Chorale in a performance at the Association of Canadian Choral Communities convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has conducted performances in Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Incheon Cultural and Arts Center in South Korea, and the Sydney Opera House.
Bruffy is a member of the advisory boards of the Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde and WomenSing in the San Francisco Bay area, and served on the board of Chorus America for seven years. He is an advisor for MusicSpoke and has a choral series on their marketplace, MusicSpoke.com. A graduate of the UMKC Conservatory of Dance and Music masters program in conducting, Bruffy was recognized in 2016 as the Conservatory’s Alumnus of the Year.
Bruffy is renowned for his fresh and passionate interpretations of standards of the choral repertoire and for championing new music. He has commissioned and premiered works by Kansas City composers Jean Belmont Ford, Zhou Long and Chen Yi, as well as works by Ola Gjeilo, Matthew Harris, Anne Kilstofte, Libby Larsen, Michael McGlynn, Cecilia McDowall, Stephen Paulus, Stephen Sametz, Philip Stopford, Steven Stucky, Joan Szymko, and Eric Whitacre.
Bruffy’s eclectic discography includes six recordings with Nimbus Records and seven with Chandos Records. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has recognized five of these recordings with a total of 12 GRAMMY® nominations and three GRAMMY® wins, most recently in 2015 for “Best Choral Performance” for his recording of Rachmaninoff’s “All-night Vigil.”
In his spare time, Bruffy breeds and raises Arabian and Saddlebred horses on his ranch just south of Kansas City in Cass County.
UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance 2016 Alumni Achievement Award Recipient Video for Charles Bruffy, M.M. ’88