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Winner of the 1987 Prix de Rome, Steve Rouse holds among his awards a three-year Meet The Composer residency, a National Endowment for the Arts Composition Fellowship, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters 1995 Hinrichsen Prize and 1985 Ives Composition Prize, two Al Smith Artist Fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council, First Prize in the 1986 Dartmouth Competition for New Choral Music for his Dense Pack, numerous ASCAP awards, and the 1999 Research and Creative Achievement Award from the University of Louisville.
Rouse's works have been performed in England, Italy, Ecuador, the Soviet Union, Taiwan, and throughout the U.S., including performances by the St. Louis Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, the American Brass Quintet, Parnassus, Composers, Inc., and the League/ISCM. He has received commissions from, among others, the Louisville Orchestra, the League/ISCM, the Guayaquil, Ecuador Chamber Orchestra, the University of Michigan Contemporary Directions Ensemble for the 1984 National Organ Conference, and the Kentucky Music Teachers Association. Rouse's Into the Light has been recorded for Telarc Records by the Cincinnati Symphony, and his Enigma for Delos Records by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, with trumpet soloist Jeff Silberschlag. His trumpet sonata, The Avatar, as recorded by Ray Mase, is available on Summit Records (CDC 148), and More Light, The Avatar and A Flying Leap! have been recorded for the Coronet label by trumpeter Michael Tunnell. Steve Rouse is published by C. F. Peters, MMB, and Primal Press.
Born in Moss Point, Mississippi in 1953, Rouse began composing and improvising at age five, subsequently studying piano, bassoon, and saxophone. At thirteen he began four years as a bassoonist in the Gulf Coast Symphony and also began performing with his first rhythm and blues group. His principal composition teachers include Luigi Zaninelli at the University of Southern Mississippi (BM Theory/Composition) and, at the University of Michigan, where he received his Master of Music and Doctorate of Music in composition, Leslie Bassett and William Albright. While a graduate student, Rouse served for three years as Music Director and accompanist for the Dance Department of Eastern Michigan University and started a successful jingle production company partnership in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area. At the conclusion of his graduate studies, his "Hexachords and Their Trichordal Generators: An Introduction" was published in the music theory journal, In Theory Only, December 1985, Volume 8, Number 8, p.19-43.
In 1988 Steve Rouse joined the theory and composition faculty of the University of Louisville School of Music. Between 1990 and 1998 he was the university's principal coordinator for the New Dimensions Series, a series of new music produced collaboratively by the School of Music and the Louisville Orchestra. Since 1989 Rouse has served as a first round juror for the Grawemeyer International Composition Award, and he has been a National Advisory Board member for the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music since 1991.
As Composer in Residence for the Meet The Composer Louisville Residency from 1995-1998, Rouse wrote music for all levels of public school music ensembles and worked extensively with students, teachers, and administrators to develop and implement musical outreach programs. The residency offered a unique opportunity to work closely with local government and social service agencies to create outreach possibilities surrounding musical creativity, such as the highly visible and successful Young Composers program.