Larry Bell

Associate Professor

"The courses I teach—tonal harmony, composition, and tonal counterpoint—prepare students to understand the materials and the language of music better in order to create their own songs and instrumental pieces and guide their improvisations."

"I am trying to teach principles of good design rather than rules. Understanding the nature of the materials of music, the function of harmony, and how to write balanced and flowing melodies gives students a sense of the possibilities. When they want to exercise their creative imaginations, they will be able to make informed choices."

"One of my teachers told me that you can always get more money, but you cannot always get more time, an idea that emphasizes the importance of time management, particularly for musicians. If 80 percent of life is showing up, the other 20 percent is being on time. It is no longer true that an artist is given much latitude because of his or her talent. The aspiring composer's capacity to deliver on deadline is part and parcel of that person's ambition to succeed."

"'Classical' is only one of today's many consumer-driven categories. I try to convince the students that they are first and foremost producers of music, not consumers. For my own part, I write what I hope will become a classic. It is enough for us to create the work."

Career Highlights

  • B.M., Boston University
  • M.A., Boston University
  • Conductor
  • Music director, Longwood Symphony Orchestra (1993–2004)
  • Music director, Empire State Youth Orchestra (1991–2002)
  • Resident conductor, Rhode Island Philharmonic (since 1997)
  • Performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; San Antonio Symphony; Accademia Stefano Tempia, Torino, Italy; Orquestra Pro Musica Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Lubbock Symphony; Orquesta Filarmonica de Lima, Peru; Pro Arte Orchestra of Vienna, Austria; and many more.