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B i o g r a p h y

Roger Clark Bradley 1946-2017

Roger Bradley, a third generation Californian, was born on October 19, 1946 and grew up in San Jose.  He began piano lessons as a young boy; his first recital at age 7.   Roger graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School, class of 1964.  He went on to attend The University of California at Santa Barbara, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Music.  Roger lived and worked in Santa Barbara for over 50 years, by which he established a large community of friends and students.  He was an accomplished concert pianist, a published composer, a piano teacher, and a dynamic individual.


Roger composed and published classical music, and taught piano privately since 1972 (over 45 years).  He loved teaching and was an inspiring, patient, and encouraging teacher to generations of students.  Roger played several combined recitals and solo concerts at The Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.  He loved to play and listen to Brahms, Mozart, Chopin, and Bach.  Even so, he was known to play and sing to Pink Floyd with friends on rare occasions.  Roger’s musical legacy includes his 24 Preludes, chamber music, music for films, and original music to accompany the poems of Byron, Shelly, Rossetti, Whitman and Poe.


A particular favorite of Roger’s own compositions included his Cello Sonata.  Roger gave a premier performance of this at the Lobero Theatre with The Music Academy of the West alumnus and preeminent cellist Misha Bodnar.  Later in Madison, Wisconsin, a good live recording was made of the same performance in a concert venue.  Subsequently, this recording was submitted and awarded Roger a prestigious Fulbright Grant to work and travel in India, but he declined the grant for personal reasons.

Roger was a close friend and supporter of Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory for over 30 years.  He was a judge in the Young Soloist program at SBMAC.  Roger shared talent and students with SBMAC; one in particular is Justin Hurwitz, the award winning American film composer.   Roger's contributions and support to SBMAC were greatly cherished and appreciated. 

Roger Bradley 2001 by Tana Sommer

Roger Bradley, 2001.  Photo by Tana Sommer.

Roger valued classical music as well as the Arts and science.  He greatly enjoyed the Theater, especially Shakespeare.  Roger was an avid reader and was in a book club; his own library included an eclectic variety of books.  He wrote poetry and lyrics.  He even proposed complex philosophical essays on energy and life which were based on mathematics, chemistry, physics, and cosmology.  And whether it was over music, art, philosophy, poetry, or politics, Roger always relished a good conversation.

Roger was fit, active, and high spirited with an absolute love of life.  He loved his modest home in the Santa Barbara Mountains with its great view of the coast.  He got up before dawn to compose or to study his science.  He loved the beach, sunshine, a soft breeze, and a leisurely trip down Highway 1.  He loved tennis, jogging, and walks.  He savored walking through Shoreline Park while on his lunch breaks from teaching.  During the holidays Roger played chess with his older brother, or mercilessly trounced the rest of his family at cards and Yahtzee games, with a gleam in his eye.  Roger considered himself a free spirit and an “old hippie,” and invariably took pride in his ponytail.  He carried a pocket watch without a chain.  He could be defiant and stubborn, but everyone appreciated his terrific sense of humor.  Roger was most often considered to be a kind and reliable friend.   He was supportive of his friends, other musicians, dancers, writers, and artists.  And yet, with himself Roger was a taskmaster and a perfectionist.  He regretted leaving some of his musical recordings unpolished, although they are all certainly beautiful as they are.

Roger Clark Bradley, of Santa Barbara, CA, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2017.  He succumbed to brain cancer, at Serenity House Hospice in Santa Barbara.  He was 71.  Roger's ashes were scattered at sea, off the point of Shoreline Park, Santa Barbara.

Roger is predeceased by his parents.  His father, Clark L. Bradley, was a lawyer in San Jose, served as Mayor of San Jose for 2 years, and served in the CA Legislature for 22 years.  Roger’s mother, Carol M. Bradley, was a homemaker and a community volunteer in San Jose.  Later, she resided in Santa Barbara.  Carol played the organ and the piano proficiently.

The youngest of four siblings, Roger is also predeceased by his brother and sister-in-law.  Roger is survived by his two sisters and brother-in-law, nine nieces and nephews, and ten grandnieces and grandnephews.

In addition to his blood-relatives, Roger also leaves behind a large family of beloved friends and students throughout Santa Barbara and California.  He continues to be greatly missed by everyone.

Please consider, donations to in Roger's name will keep Roger's music accessible to future students of SBMAC.​

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