Dr. Bruce Polay has been professor of music at Knox College, where he currently serves as music chair and teaches courses in music theory, music history, and composition, as well as artistic director/conductor of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony since 1983. Polay is a three-time recipient of the Illinois Council of Orchestras (ICO) Illinois Conductor of the Year Award, most recently the coveted Conductor of the Year, Professional Orchestra Award in April, 2010. He has also been recognized with the ICO’s prestigious Cultural Leadership and Programming of the Year Awards in addition to the KGS being recognized as Illinois Orchestra of the Year for an unprecedented third time, most recently in 2008! Last season Bruce served as composer-in-residence at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida, where the Lynn Conservatory and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University commissioned his First String Quartet (2007) that was published by Editions Rassel (NY) in February, 2008. Additionally, he worked with Lynn Conservatory composers, coached performances of his chamber music, and gave classroom and public lectures on contemporary music. In addition, there a Spotlight on Bruce Polay recital his chamber music. Last season also saw the world premiere of Bruce’s recently commissioned Ebb and Flow for Piano Solo (2007), in San Francisco in October, 2007.

Bruce's recent appearances as guest conductor have included performances in Belarus, England, Italy, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and in the US, all resulting in requests for re-engagements, conducting orchestras such as the State Orchestra of Mexico, the Belarussian State Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of the Emporda (Spain), the Arad Philharmonic (Romania), Kharkiv Philharmonic (Ukraine), and Moscow’s famed Bolshoi Theater Chamber Orchestra, performing is many major cities including Barcelona, Girona, Minsk, Mexico City, Moscow, and Rome. He has performed as soloist and recitalist in Europe and in the US, has served as judge for international piano competitions in Canada and Italy, continues to judge the Midwest Young Artists Competition, has performed in New York City's famed Carnegie Hall and has been invited to give a conducting masterclass at the prestigious Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

Bruce's recognition as a composer has been enhanced with awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers in ASCAP's Rudolf Nissim Composition Competition and ASCAP/Plus Awards received each year since l993. Sparkle for Orchestra (2006), commissioned by Blick Art Materials, received its world premiere last season with the KGS then its Chicago premiere a month later in Chicago. Zimbel Records (NY) released Pictures For an Exhibition: Selected Chamber Music by Bruce Polay on compact disc in 2006. Semi-Suite for Violin, Cello and Piano (2000) was published by Editions Rassel, NY in 2006. In 2005, Golden Oldie (2001) was released on an ERM CD entitled "Masterworks of the New Era." Suite on Catalonian Folksongs for String Orchestra (2004), which was commissioned by Orquestra de Cambra de l’Emporda (Spain), is published by Editions Rassel (NY). Solemnity for Brass Ensemble (2001) was given its world premiere with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra brass in Symphony Center, Chicago in 2001. Cathedral Images for Orchestra (1992) appears on a Master Musicians Collective compact disc. Other published works include Elegy for Solo Violin and Small Orchestra (2001), Consolation for Organ (1998), Prelude for Kingsfold for Organ (2001) and Amazing Grace for Violin and Piano (2002). Both Solemnity and Suite of Preludes for Organ are scheduled for publication. His MMB published Encomium for Narrator, Three-Part Children's Chorus and Orchestra (1986) on text by Carl Sandburg, was commissioned by the Knox College sesquicentennial Committee in commemoration of the co-founding of Knox College and the City of Galesburg. Bruce’s works are published by MMB (St. Louis), ER (New York), and Zimbel Press (New York).

Bruce has served on the Board of Advisors of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, judging in both the International Composition Competition and the National Commissioning Program. He continues on the Advisory Board of the Foundation for New Music and the Music Program Panel (for symphonies, ensembles, and opera) of the Illinois Arts Council.