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© 2018 by Darci Griffith Gamerl

brad  bombardier


Iris &Well

 from the Bombardier acreage outside of Duluth

Untitled Paintings by

Brad Bombardier

Bradley A. Bombardier (1960-2019) 


Brad was a native of Duluth, Minnesota, where he has resided since 1960. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Superior (Bachelor of Music in Saxophone and Bassoon Performance, 1982), and Bowling Green State University (Master of Music as a Woodwind Specialist, 1984). He was instructor of saxophone at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. 

Brad held the second bassoon chair with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra since 1980, and was principal bassoonist and librarian for the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra. He was also a founding member of the Bigtime Jazz Orchestra, and appeared with the Lyric Opera of the North orchestra, the Itasca Symphony Orchestra, the Chequamegon Symphony Orchestra, the Ashland Chamber Music Society, and the Northern Lights Summer Music Festival Orchestra.

In addition, he was saxophone soloist with the DSSO, performing the Creston Concerto twice during the summer of 1997 (with the 1st movement of Darius Milhaud's "Scaramouche" as an encore), and the Mozart Bassoon Concerto with the Itasca Symphony Orchestra. He also played his arrangement of the Mozart Concerto on saxophone with the UW-S orchestra. Both performances of the Mozart were followed by encore arrangements of Brad's - Rudy Weidoeft's "Saxophobia" and "Tico Tico" (on alto sax, with Randy Lee on tenor) with the ISO. Most recently, he played tenor and baritone sax in numerous appearances with The Temptations and the Four Tops, with a 6th engagement with The Four Tops in September 2019 at Ho Chunk Casino. Brad also played saxophone (and occasionally tambourine) in "A Band Called Truman"


As a composer, Brad was a recipient of the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship in 1989, and has also received grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the American Composers Forum. Many of his choral works are published by Noctilucent Press, and two settings of Finnish folk songs for voice and orchestra (commissioned and performed by the DSSO at FinnFest 1992) have been published by MMB, Inc.. Brad had two of his compositions for jazz ensemble recorded on CD, one on each of the Bigtime Jazz Orchestra's two releases, the most recent of which was named after his tune "Fanfare From Some Flounder?". To date, he has had over 530 performances of 150 different works, over 125 of which have been commissioned and performed by ensembles that include the DSSO (6 times), the LSCO (21 times), the UW-S Music Department (10 times), the Itasca Symphony Orchestra, the Duluth-Superior Sinfonia (5 times), Strikepoint Handbell Ensemble, the Indiana Brass Quintet, the Quapaw (AK) String Quartet, and numerous local and region-wide high school and middle school music departments. Recent commissions include a suite arranged for 2016 MPR Tiny Desk Competition winner Gaelynn Lea, with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra (funded by grants from the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council), a piece for the Silver Bay Middle School band, through an appropriation from the Perpich Center for the Arts, and a cooperative work for the Winona High School Band, through a grant from the Dare to Dream Foundation. In the spring of 2019, Dr. Jefferson Campbell released a CD of works for bassoon that includes Brad's "Bassoon Rawk", on which Dr. Campbell plays the solo part as well as the eight overdubbed bassoon and contrabassoon accompaniment parts.

Brad lived on eight acres of land in Lakewood Township, just northeast of Duluth, surrounded by the boreal forests of northern Minnesota. ("You ain't no kind-a man if you ain't got land." - Delmar O'Donnel, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?") Taking a cue from Thoreau, he moved out of the city of Duluth in 2015 to a location that enables him to live closer to the land. Brad purposefully avoided social media, and although he was a social person, solitude and silence were key to his creative muse.

Brad was a dues-paying member of Duluth Musician's Union Local 18, the International Percy Grainger Society (lifetime member), the International Dmitri Shostakovich Association, Cloquet Racquetball Players Inc., and the Duluth Owls Club.


When not teaching, performing, or writing music, Brad's interests included (but were not limited to) single malts, motorcycles, antebellum millinery, and learning the baliset.                            

(last updated 10/12/2019 by DGG)