Composer Christopher Rouse elected to replace retiring President John Harbison

Posted January 20, 2010

New York, NY — The Aaron Copland Fund for Music is pleased to announce the election of Christopher Rouse as President of the Fund. Mr. Rouse follows John Harbison, who held the position for thirteen years and whose resignation marks the close of a distinguished tenure devoted to fulfilling the goals of the Fund as expressed by Aaron Copland during his lifetime. It was Mr. Copland’s wish that his estate be used to elevate the appreciation of contemporary American music by dispensing grants for performances, recordings, and related projects. As President of the Copland Fund, Mr. Rouse will lead a distinguished board composed primarily of American composers and musicians. Among the original members, named by Copland himself, are composers Elliott Carter and David Del Tredici, and Yale musicologist Vivian Perlis. Ms. Perlis comments, “Copland composed music that represents the finest of American values and aspirations. He ensured the continuation of his efforts by establishing the Copland Fund to support and promote the performance and recording of the music of our time.”

Christopher Rouse, one of America’s leading composers, is known for his high-energy orchestral works. Among his many pieces are colorful concerti for various instruments and orchestra, commissioned for performance by celebrated artists world-wide, including his Pulitzer prize-winning Trombone Concerto of 2006. Renowned as teacher of composition at leading institutions such as the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Aspen Festival and School, Mr. Rouse expands traditional pedagogy to include rock, which infuses his own concert music with a vitality characteristic of popular culture.

As John Harbison departs from the Copland Fund board, his efforts on its behalf cannot be over-stated. His presidency has mirrored Copland’s career as the “good citizen” of American music, and yet it also is marked by Mr. Harbison’s own inimitable qualities of leadership. He has received many honors for his own compositions, as well as for the role of educator on the faculty at M.I.T., the Tanglewood Music Center, and many other institutions. He brings to his composing and teaching a deep knowledge and appreciation of literature resulting in a heightened interest in vocal music, including opera. Mr. Harbison’s wide-ranging activities also encompass jazz piano and conducting. His leadership position in the world of music has had particular impact on the Boston musical scene where he has been responsible for numerous premieres and revivals.

The Directors of the Copland Fund salute John Harbison as they welcome their new President Christopher Rouse to this prestigious and challenging position.