Bruce Trinkley taught composition and orchestration and conducted the Penn State Glee Club from 1970 to 2006, and was music director for Penn State's Centre Stage from 1970 until 1995. He received degrees in composition from Columbia University where he studied with Otto Luening, Jack Beeson and Charles Wuorinen.
Professor Trinkley's music has been performed in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and China. He has composed incidental music, songs and choruses for theatre and dance productions and has written extensively for choral ensembles, including more than 200 arrangements of folk songs, spirituals and popular songs for various ensembles. In 1976 he collaborated on The Wagon Train Show, which played more than 2000 performances during the Bicentennial. Santa Rosalia, a cantata inspired by paintings of Fernando Botero, was filmed for PBS. Mountain Laurels, a choral symphony using texts by Pennsylvania poets, was written to celebrate the centenary of State College, Pennsylvania, in 1996. Cold Mountain, a piano trio, was commissioned by the Castalia Trio for their concert tour of China in May 1998. His opera Eve's Odds won the National Opera Association's 1999 Chamber Opera Competition. Cleo, a comic opera about the making of the movie epic Cleopatra, won the competition in 2001.
Recent works include The Last Voyage of Captain Meriwether Lewis, a cantata for men's voices; One Life: The Rachel Carson Project, a multi-media work for women’s chorus, soloists, and instrumental ensemble; and York: the Voice of Freedom, a music drama about the life of the only African American on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His operas for young people include The Prairie Dog That Met the President and Chicken Little.
He has had composer residencies at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Hambidge Center, the Ucross Foundation, and the Patrick Allan-Fraser Trust in Scotland. His works are published by Alliance, Alfred Music, Oxford University Press, Augsburg Fortress, Lawson-Gould, GIA, Hinshaw, Hal Leonard and Yelton Rhodes.