Christopher Rouse - Composer

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2018 Performances

Violoncello Concerto
Albany Symphony
Inbal Segev, cello
David Alan Miller, conductor
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
Troy, NY
February 10, 11, 2018

Organ Concerto
Trinity Church, St. Paul's Organ Inauguration
Paul Jacobs, organ
Julian Wachner, conductor
St. Paul's Chapel
New York, NY
February 22, 2018

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Joshua Weilerstein, conductor
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
Milwaukee, WI
March 2, 3, 4, 2018

Ogoun Badagris
Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Nashville, TN
May 18, 19, 2018

Bassoon Concerto
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Cuneo, bassoon
Cristian Măcelaru, conductor
Powell Hall
St. Louis, MO
November 16, 17, 2018
World Premiere

2019 Performances

Concerto for Orchestra
Nashville Symphony
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Nashville, TN
April 11, 12, 13, 2019

Nashville Symphony
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Nashville, TN
April 11, 12, 13, 2019

Photograph of Christopher Rouse © 2007 by Jeff Herman


Christopher Rouse — celebrated symphonist and composer of more than a dozen concertos for different instruments — adds yet another concerto to his catalog: a Bassoon Concerto. Soloist Andrew Cuneo gives the first performances of the concerto with Cristian Măcelaru and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on November 16 and 17 at Powell Hall.

A longtime champion of Rouse's music, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has also given the world premieres of his Phantasmata for orchestra (1981/85) and Symphony No. 3 (2011), and has performed many other of his orchestral and concerto works over the past decades.

The Bassoon Concerto is commissioned by a consortium of four orchestras across three continents: St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. The world premiere in St. Louis will be followed by to-be-announced performances by the other three commissioners in subsequent seasons.

A prolific orchestral composer, Rouse has written a concerto for a large variety of instruments. With this latest addition, he has now completed a concerto for each of the four main woodwind instruments. Rouse's concertos display his skill in exploring and utilizing an instrument's full range of capabilities. In the Bassoon Concerto, he asks the soloist to play long, lyrical lines, and to exploit the unique tone of the instrument's upper-middle register (rather than its natural range in the lower register), which he finds to be akin to the quality of a cello.

Written in three movements, the 20-minute concerto sees the soloist and orchestra working together, unlike other Rouse concertos (e.g., the cello concerto) that aggressively pit the orchestra against the soloist. The composer substantially pared down the scoring, stripping out the horns, trombones, and tuba and using a smaller percussion setup. At various points of the concerto, the two bassoons in the orchestra join forces with the soloist to create what Rouse calls a "mega bassoon," an effect that creates a broader sound and allows for exploration of new colors.

More information about the Bassoon Concerto


Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 5 has its world premiere with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden conducting, from 9-11 February 2017. Future performances include summer of 2017 at Aspen Music Festival, and autumn of 2017 with the Nashville Symphony.

Rouse: Odna Zhizn - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 - Prospero's Rooms - Dacapo DACAPO RECORDING: ODNA ZHIZN, SYMPHONIES NOS. 3 & 4, PROSPERO'S ROOMS

May 2016 saw the Dacapo release of Symphonies 3 and 4, Odna Zhizn, and Propsero's Rooms by the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert. The CD was listed as one of NPR's best recordings of 2016, one of only two in the classical genre. The recording is nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award for "Best Orchestral Performance."


The Philadelphia Orchestra premiered the Organ Concerto, composed for organist Paul Jacobs, from 17-19 November 2016. Co-commissioners the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra will premiere the work in April and May 2017, respectively.

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