During a media briefing by the New York Philharmonic in WQXR’s Greene Performance Space in Lower Manhattan, it was announced that American composer Christopher Rouse has been named the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, following the three-year tenure of Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg in this position. Rouse’s two-year tenure will include performances of a number of his works (including Phantasmata (1985) and Seeing for Piano and Orchestra (1999) with soloist Emanuel Ax), plus the world premiere of a New York Philharmonic commission (April 17-20, 2013). Rouse will also serve as an advisor in collaboration with New York Philharmonic Artistic Director Alan Gilbert in programming the Philharmonic’s CONTACT! new music series.
In his introduction of Rouse during the press conference, Gilbert extolled Rouse’s music which he has previously recorded with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. “Chris has an ear for sense and a sense of human psychology that is really penetrating. I literally have never heard one note of Chris’s that doesn’t speak to me as a deep and powerful statement.”
“I’m thrilled to be doing this,” acknowledged Rouse. “Phantasmata was really the first orchestral commission I had, so it’s something of a golden oldie. I’m thrilled that Seeing, which the orchestra commissioned, is being revived yet again. [...] The new piece that I’ll be writing is still a little amorphous.”
Christopher Rouse has had a long history with the New York Philharmonic which dates back to hearing their recordings as he was growing up in Baltimore, as well as watching them on television during Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts. As an adult, Rouse has composed numerous works for the Philharmonic including his 1992 Trombone Concerto (written for the Philharmonic’s principal trombonist Joseph Alessi) which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. (Read a 2008 NewMusicBox interview with Christopher Rouse.)
The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence position was the result of a $10 million gift from Henry R. Kravis endowing the residency as well as the awarding of an annual $250,000 Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music which was awarded for the first time last year to French composer Henri Dutilleux.