Christopher Rouse, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music

TITLE: President

FUNDING AREAS: Performing ensembles, recording, jazz

CONTACT: info@coplandfund.org, 212-461-6956

IP TAKE: It may be difficult to impress this world renowned composer who, by the way, also serves as the Composer-in-Residence for the New York Philharmonic.

PROFILE: Christopher Rouse took over as President of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music in 2010, following John Harbison, who held the position for 13 years. Rouse, as one of the nation's pre-eminent composers, is of course quite suited for the job in terms of assessing compositional talent, with a Pulitzer prize and Grammy award to prove his own. (His own website as a composer has samples of his work.) Rouse heads up the fund's board, made up of other distinguished composers and musicians, including composers Elliott Carter and David Del Tredici, and Yale musicologist Vivian Perlis. The fund aims to "encourage and improve public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary American music," something Rouse has a lifelong commitment to.

Rouse has produced several notable orchestral, wind ensemble and chamber music compositions, known for their pronounced (and notably loud) style. He became the New York Philharmonic's Composer-in-Residence in 2012, and has also served as Composer-in-Residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Biennale, and the Aspen Music Festival. He won his Grammy in 2002 for best contemporary composition for his Concert de Gaudi, and his Symphony No. 1 was awarded the Kennedy Center's Friedheim Award in 1998. Another huge win came in 1993 with a Pulitzer prize for his Trombone Concerto.

He has been commissioned by such institutions as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony, among many others. His music has been performed by every major U.S. orchestra and numerous international ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony and the Moscow Symphony.

In his work with the fund, Rouse oversees its three grant programs: the recording program, which documents and increases exposure of contemporary composers; the performing ensembles program, which aims to improve public knowledge of and appreciation for serious contemporary music; and the supplemental program, which supports programs dedicated to contemporary American music, but whose needs fall a little outside of the fund's usual scope, such as presenters and music service organizations. If you're not sure your program is eligible, the fund does a great job of defining its requirements in their frequently asked questions

Rouse is clearly interested in spreading the works of contemporary American musicians, and has a long history of learning and teaching. The Baltimore native studied under Richard Hoffmann at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, then went on to Cornell University, studying under Karel Husa. As a student, he won the BMI Student Composer Awards two years in a row.

He later taught at the University of Michigan, where he was also a Junior Fellow in the University's Society of Fellows, then at the Eastman School of Music. Since 2002 he has taught at the Juilliard School in New York City. That same year he was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters, where Copland once served as president.

Rouse is also known for expanding the traditional pedagogy of classical music learning to include popular music such as rock 'n' roll, and has cited classic rock band Led Zeppelin as an influence. Some of his notable students include Michael Torke, Kamran Ince, Marc Mellits, Robert Paterson, and Kevin Puts, another Pulitzer-prize winning composer. It's clear that music is Rouse's lifelong passion, and he is commited to fostering that passion in others—and giving them the funds to do so.

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