Christopher Chapman Rouse III (February 15, 1949 – September 21, 2019) was an American composer. Though he wrote for various ensembles, Rouse is primarily known for his orchestral compositions, including a Requiem, a dozen concertos, and six symphonies. His work received numerous accolades, including the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, the Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, and the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He also served as the composer-in-residence for the New York Philharmonic from 2012 to 2015.
Rouse was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Christopher Rouse Jr., a salesman at Pitney Bowes, and Margorie or Margery Rouse, a radiology secretary. He studied with Richard Hoffmann at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, graduating in 1971. He later completed graduate degrees under Karel Husa at Cornell University in 1977. In between, Rouse studied privately with George Crumb.
Early recognition came from the BMI Foundation‘s BMI Student Composer Awards in 1972 and 1973. Rouse taught at the University of Michigan from 1978 to 1981, where he was also a Junior Fellow in the University’s Society of Fellows and at the Eastman School of Music from 1981 to 2002. Beginning in 1997, he taught at the Juilliard School.
Rouse’s Symphony No. 1 was awarded the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in 1988, and his Trombone Concerto was awarded the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Music. In 2002, Rouse was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Also in that year, he won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for his Concert de Gaudí. In 2009, Rouse was named Musical America‘s Composer of the Year and the New York Philharmonic‘s Composer-in-Residence in 2012. Rouse also served as Composer-in-Residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (1985–88), the Tanglewood Music Festival (1997), the Helsinki Biennale (1997), the Pacific Music Festival (1998), and the Aspen Music Festival (annually since 2000).