Christopher Rouse dies aged 70 – tributes pour in for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer

23 September 2019, 17:29 | Updated: 23 September 2019, 17:31

Christopher Rouse, American composer and teacher
Christopher Rouse, American composer and teacher. Picture: Getty

By Sian Hamer

Friends and family have been paying tribute to the influential composer, who was best known for his expressionistic work.

American composer Christopher Rouse has died aged 70 from complications of renal cancer, a publicist for his music publisher Boosey & Hawkes has confirmed.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer died on 21 September at a hospice centre in Baltimore.

Tributes have poured in for the composer and teacher, recognised as one of the US’s greatest orchestral voices.

“His warmth, sense of humour, and musical brilliance will be greatly missed and dearly remembered,” said Boosey & Hawkes. “Rest in peace, Chris.”

It is with deep sadness that Boosey & Hawkes announces the death of the great composer and beloved teacher Christopher...

Posted by Boosey & Hawkes on Sunday, 22 September 2019

Rouse’s final work, his Symphony No. 6, is planned to premiere on 18 October with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Louis Langrée.

According to Rouse’s friend, Joel Puckett, the composer was still working on the score as recently as last week.

His composition output includes six individualistic symphonies, concertos for 12 different instruments, and a multitude of symphonic works.

Fans and friends from the music world have taken to Twitter to share their condolences.

The Juilliard School described Rouse as “a friend and mentor to many”, while the New York Philharmonic called him “a brilliant composer, generous collaborator and inspiration. We are honoured to have called him a friend.”