1. Faculty

Bruce Lamott

NOTE: On Sabbatical for 2017-18; Music History and Literature


  • Rulers and Justice in the Dramatic Works
  • Vocal Masterworks of J.S. Bach
  • Mozart, Opera & the Age of Enlightenment


  • PhD, Stanford University
  • MA, Stanford University
  • BA, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon


  • Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, 1989–Present
  • Carmel Bach Festival, 1974–2003
  • Sacramento Symphony, 1984–92
  • San Francisco Opera, 1985, 1989


  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow
  • Ingolf Dahl Award in Musicology
  • Scholar-in-Residence, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
  • summa cum laude, Lewis & Clark College

What is your hometown?

San Francisco, CA

What is your favorite recording?

Handel: Messiah (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra)

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Gardening, cooking, and Shiba Inus.

Who were your major teachers?

Edith Kilbuck, Alan Curtis, and David Dahl.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“There is no ‘right’; there's only ‘better’.”
“There are no mistakes on the harpsichord, only long appoggiaturas.”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“How can I express my musical ideas to a general audience in ways that they will understand?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

A semester in Vienna, nightly binge-watching operas, concerts, and recitals in standing room.

What was a turning point in your career?

Playing harpsichord for Don Giovanni at Stanford, my first opera production, and one that led to a 30-year career at the Carmel Bach Festival.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Writing nonfiction or working in medicine.

What is your daily practice routine?

Daily practice is not part of my routine, but as an adult-onset cellist, I could play for hours.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Mozart, Bach, and Handel.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

Vienna, 1785.

What are your most important collaborations?

36 years of interdisciplinary teaching with specialists in art and European history in Western Civilization: History of the Arts, at San Francisco University High School.

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

Anthony Cheung, Paul Haas, and Christòpheren Nomura.

What is your unrealized project?

Completion of a history of opera in San Francisco begun by the late Robert Commanday.