Christopher Rouse is one of America’s most prominent composers of orchestral music. Winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Trombone Concerto and a Grammy Award for Concert de Gaudi, Rouse has created a body of work perhaps unequaled in its emotional intensity. The New York Times has called it “some of the most anguished, most memorable music around.” His accomplishments as a composer were honored in 2002 with his election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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 until 2002, he taught a course in the history of rock for many years. He taught composition at the Eastman School for two decades and currently teaches composition at The Juilliard School.
Rouse’s music has been played by nearly every major orchestra in the U.S. and numerous ensembles overseas, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney and Melbourne symphonies, and the Austrian Radio Orchestra. He is counted among Alsop’s favorite composers and his works have been featured frequently at the Cabrillo Festival; among the 22 works performed, there were ten West Coast Premieres, and his Concerto for Orchestra (2008) was a world premiere Festival commission. Recent highlights for the composer include the world premieres of his Oboe Concerto by the Minnesota Orchestra (2009); Odna Zhizn, Prospero’s Rooms, and Symphony No. 4 by the New York Philharmonic (2010, 2013, and 2014, respectively); and Heimdall’s Trumpet by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2012).
Rouse was named the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic for the 2012–13 season, and was extended through the 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons.
This season Rouse returns to Cabrillo as composer-in-residence for the West Coast premieres of his Oboe Concerto and Thunderstuck, both performed on opening night, Power & Devotion, Friday, August 5.