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Short Biography:
One of America's most prominent composers and winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Trombone Concerto, Christopher Rouse created a body of work perhaps unequalled in its emotional intensity. The New York Times called it "some of the most anguished, most memorable music around."

Rouse’s music has been played by every major orchestra in the U.S. and numerous ensembles overseas. From 2012-2015, Rouse served as the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic. He also was in residence at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Symphony, Helsinki Biennalle, Pacific Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival.

The 2019-2020 season sees the world premiere of Rouse’s Symphony No. 6 with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Louis Langrée in October. Other recent premieres include a Bassoon Concerto, debuted by soloist Andrew Cuneo and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under Cristian Macelaru, and Berceuse Infinie, written for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Rouse’s longtime collaborator Marin Alsop in November 2017.

The catalog of Christopher Rouse is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

—September 2019
This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

Long Biography:
One of America’s most prominent composers, Christopher Rouse created a body of work perhaps unequalled in its emotional intensity. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his Trombone Concerto and a Grammy Award for Concert de Gaudí, he was also elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. The New York Times has called Rouse's music "some of the most anguished, most memorable music around." The Baltimore Sun has written: "When the music history of the late 20th century is written, I suspect the explosive and passionate music of Rouse will loom large."

Born in Baltimore in 1949, Rouse developed an early interest in both classical and popular music. He graduated from Oberlin Conservatory and Cornell University, numbering among his principal teachers George Crumb and Karel Husa. Rouse maintained a steady interest in popular music: at the Eastman School of Music, where he was Professor of Composition from 1981-2002, he taught a course in the history of rock for many years. Rouse was also a member of the composition faculty at The Juilliard School from 1997-2019.

While the Rouse catalog includes a number of acclaimed chamber and ensemble works, he was best known for his mastery of orchestral writing. Rouse's music has been played by every major orchestra in the US, and numerous ensembles overseas including the Berlin Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies, London Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon, Toronto Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Moscow Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as the radio orchestras of Helsinki, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Tokyo, Austria, and Berlin.

Rouse gained particular notice for his concertos, which include his Violin Concerto (1991), commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival for Cho-Liang Lin; the Violoncello Concerto (1992–93), premiered by Yo-Yo Ma, David Zinman, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Seeing (1998), a piano concerto for Emanuel Ax, the New York Philharmonic, and Leonard Slatkin; a Clarinet Concerto (2000), commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for its principal clarinetist, Larry Combs; the Oboe Concerto (2009), which had its world premiere with the Minnesota Orchestra; Heimdall’s Trumpet (2012), commissioned for Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal trumpeter Christopher Martin; and his Bassoon Concerto, premiered in 2018 by bassoonist Andrew Cuneo and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by Cristian Macelaru.

Numerous recordings of Rouse’s works have won critical accolades and awards, including the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition for Concert de Gaudí, his guitar concerto written for soloist Sharon Isbin. An all-Rouse disc with Christoph Eschenbach and the Houston Symphony featuring his Symphony No. 2 (1995), Phaethon (1986), and his Celtic-inspired Flute Concerto (1994) performed by Carol Wincenc won a Diapason d’Or. Passion Wheels, Marin Alsop’s 2000 recording of Rouse’s Concerto per Corde, Rotae Passionis, Ku-Ka-Ilimoku, and Ogoun Badagris won "Best of the Year" designations from both Gramophone and Fanfare. RCA has also issued a CD devoted to Rouse's music, featuring Marin Alsop leading the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Gorgon, Iscariot, and his Pulitzer Prize–winning Trombone Concerto, with soloist Joseph Alessi. The New York Philharmonic's all-Rouse album under Alan Gilbert featuring his Third and Fourth symphonies, Odna Zhizn, and Prospero’s Rooms was listed as one of NPR’s best recordings of 2016.

The 2019-2020 season sees the world premiere of Rouse’s Symphony No. 6 with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Louis Langrée in October. Other recent premieres have included Berceuse Infinie, written for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and longtime collaborator Marin Alsop in November 2017; Rouse’s Organ Concerto, performed by organist Paul Jacobs with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in 2016; Symphony No. 5, premiered in February 2017 by the Dallas Symphony and Jaap van Zweden; and a dance work entitled Friandises, jointly commissioned by the New York City Ballet and the Juilliard School, which was televised nationally on PBS.

From 2012-2015, Rouse served as the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic. He also was in residence at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Symphony, Helsinki Biennalle, Pacific Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival.

The catalog of Christopher Rouse is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

—September 2019
This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

 

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