Bruce Gustafson has established an international reputation in the field of French harpsichord music through his writings. His French Harpsichord Music of the 17th Century has become the standard reference work in its field. Subsequently, he published a similar study of the eighteenth century with Oxford University Press. He is also the editor of various editions of harpsichord music, and the author of over two hundred articles in scholarly journals and encyclopedias, including The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (revised edition), and Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (new edition).
He has also involved F&M students in his research. One book, A Thematic Locator for the Works of Jean-Baptiste Lully, was published with a student listed as co-author.
His publications have received much praise in reviews. The Journal of the Royal Musical Association called his first book "monumental ... [a] mine of information ... invaluable," and his eighteenth-century study "more than a merely factual catalogue ... [it] inspires the reader ... a splendid achievement." Early Music concluded that the same book "could hardly be improved." Of the earlier book it commented on the "exemplary and most commendable diligence, systematic thoroughness and musicianly as well as scholarly insight." Howard Ferguson in Music & Letters said of the first book that "every researcher ... will bless Bruce Gustafson."
He is active in a number of professional organizations, and he is past President of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. He was Editor-in-Chief for seven years of the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music, a leader for scholarly web publication in musicology. He is founding Editor-in-Chief for Oxford Bibliographies: Music.
He appears frequently as a recitalist, including appearances for the American Guild of Organists in New York City, at the international "Colloque Lully" in Heidelberg, and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. As a student, he was a winner of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Young Artists competition and a national finalist in the playing competition sponsored by the American Guild of Organists. His appearance at the Spoleto Festival (Charleston) was hailed as "brilliant ... musicianship and technique were on a high level indeed."
He received his B.A. from Kalamazoo College and then a Master of Music in organ performance from the University of Oklahoma, where he was a student of the legendary Mildred Andrews. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Michigan. He has also studied at the Friedrichs Universität (Erlangen, Germany), the Internationale Zomer Academie voor Organisten (Haarlem, Holland), the Université internationale d'été de Versailles (France), the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain), and Tohoku Gakuin Dagaiku (Sendai, Japan). He has been a member of the F&M faculty since 1981, and has also served as external advisor to Ph.D. theses at other institutions, including Cambridge University (England), the University of New South Wales (Australia), Case Western University, the University of Maryland, the New York State University at Buffalo, and the Eastman School of Music.
Ph.D, Musicology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1977
A.M.L.S., Music, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1975
M. Mus., Organ, The Univerity of Oklahoma, Norman, 1969
B.A., Music, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1967