Storm Bull

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Storm Bull (October 13, 1913 – July 22, 2007) was an American musician, composer and educator. He was Professor Emeritus at the College of Music, University of Colorado at Boulder and Head of the Division of Piano.[1]


Johan Storm Bull, the only child of Eyvind Hagerup Bull (1882-1949) and Agnes Hagerup Bull (1885-1950), was born in Chicago, Illinois . His family heritage included the musical traditions of Norway. Both of Storm's grandfathers were nephews of the Norwegian violinist Ole Bull and were also first cousins of the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.[2][3] In 1919, Storm Bull began his formal musical training at the Laboratory Schools of the University of Chicago, the American Conservatory of Music, and the Chicago Musical College. His teachers during this time included Percy Grainger.


In 1929, his debut as a soloist took place at age 16 in Oslo, Norway. He performed Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor with the Orchestra of the Oslo Philharmonic conducted by Issay Dobrowen before an audience which included Nina Hagerup Grieg, the composer's widow.

In 1931, he studied in Paris with Lazare Levy at the Ecole Normale de Musique and at the Sorbonne. Bull continued his musical training at the Liszt Academy and the University of Budapest. He was the private pupil of the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.[4]

On March 2, 1939, he gave the first North American performance of Bartók's Second Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frederick Stock. He performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Douglas Clarke and made his concert debut in New York City with a solo recital at Town Hall.[5]

Bull served three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II in a precursor to the Navy SEALS. Bull was a Chief Specialist in Athletics, Underwater Demolition Team. Starting in 1945, he spent two years teaching at Baylor University before accepting a professorship at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1947. During his time at CU-Boulder, his students would include classical musician David Schrader and composer/pianist Dave Grusin.[6][7]

In 1954, Bull was honored as a Fulbright Grant Professor of Musicology at the University of Oslo, Norway. In 1969, Storm Bull was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award for extraordinary contributions to the cultural life of the United States and Norway by the Scandinavian Foundation at the University of Denver. After thirty years with the University of Colorado College of Music, Bull retired in 1977 as Professor Emeritus and Head of the Piano Division.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1939 he married Ellen Elizabeth Cross (1915-2003), the daughter of Celtic studies scholar Tom Peete Cross.[9][10] Storm Bull retired to Arizona during 1996 and died at age 93 in Mesa, Arizona.[11]


  • Index to Biographies of Contemporary Composers. Volume 3 (The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1987)

Selected compositions[edit]

  • Prelude for Piano - April 1928
  • Caprice for Piano - December 1928
  • Improvisations and Fugue on an Original Theme - May 1930
  • Nocturne for Symphonic Band - June 1937
  • Norwegian Folk Melodies - July 1937
  • Green Bushes - June 1946


  1. ^ Social Security Death Index (Social Security Administration)
  2. ^ Storm Bull, Genealogy (Technische Änderungen und Irrtümer vorbehalten) [1] Archived 2010-01-23 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Family: Bull (Our Family History)
  4. ^ Guide to the Storm Bull Collection (University of Colorado at Boulder) [2] Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Bull, Storm, Collection (University of Colorado, Boulder) Archived 2010-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Biography of David Schrader (David Schrader official website)". Archived from the original on 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  7. ^ Chronology the 1950s (Dave Grusin official website)
  8. ^ In Memoriam ( Katherine Keim, Music Teachers National Association, October 2007) [3][permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Misses Evelyn and Ellen Cross Will Be Brides", Chicago Tribune, 1939-05-19, retrieved 2011-07-08
  10. ^ Cass, Judith (1939-10-06), "Many Enjoying Fall Season at Virginia Resort", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 2011-07-08
  11. ^ Storm Bull (Meza AZ Tribune Obituaries) Archived 2010-06-04 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]