Bruce A. Russell aka Ibrahim El Mahboob (he/him, b. 1968) is a composer and self-taught pianist living and working in Toronto (Tkarón:to, the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat). He studied at York University with James Tenney and Phillip Werren. His early years were spent playing in bands and releasing DIY cassettes of art pop and experimental music, as well as composing predominantly electronic scores for dance, theatre, and interdisciplinary productions.
Frustrated by systemic bias, personal struggles, and a lack of interest in his work, he stopped seeking a career in music. He continued composing in private, however, sharing his work through social media. Interest in his work increased in 2020, leading to performances by Second Note Duo, Prism Percussion, the San Juan Symphony, Idaho Falls Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra and the Isabel String Quartet. Arraymusic presented the first full concert of his music in November of that year, and he will be Composer in Residence at Array for three seasons from 2022 through 2025.
He has composed new works for Gryphon Trio, the Madawaska Quartet and Thin Edge New Music Collective. He is the composer/music director for Ian Kamau’s live multi-media work Loss, premiering at Luminato in June 2023. He was the host of Radio Music Gallery and has written for Musicworks and I Care if You Listen. His interests are in 20th and 21st century concert music especially postminimalism, and music of the African diaspora.
Mahboob – Arabic, “the beloved one”