Michael Alec Rose composes a variety of chamber and symphonic music for many distinguished performers and venues.
Rose is Associate Professor of Composition at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. His awards and commissions include the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s chamber music commission, for which he composed his String Quartet No. 2, premiered by the Meliora Quartet at Lincoln Center and the Library of Congress; a commission from the International Spoleto Festival for a violin-cello duo; twenty-five consecutive annual awards in composition from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 1986-2010; string quartet commissions from the Blair and Mendelssohn Quartets; and three commissioned performances by the Nashville Symphony, including his Symphony No. 1-Paths of Peace (2000).
Rose’s Interferon, or Piano Concerto was performed by two orchestras in the Czech Republic in 2001. Two ballets commissioned by the Nashville Ballet were premiered in 2003-2004. The Pedagogy of Grief (Viola Sonata No. 3) was first performed at the Peabody Institute of Music, Baltimore, in 2005. Arguing with God: Concerto for Klezmer and Chamber Orchestra received its first performance in March, 2007, by the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and Brave Old World, the culminating event of its American Jewish Music Festival. Graces, Furies, commissioned for the Carolina Piano Trio, was premiered by them in three cities in North Carolina in May, 2007, with further performances throughout the United States in 2008.
Rose is the co-founder and co-director of an ongoing international exchange program involving the Royal Academies of Music in London and Glasgow (RAM and RSAMD) and the Blair School of Music, “Collaborative Composition in London.” He has twice visited RAM as Guest Composer, with performances of his music at various London sites. Several of his works have also been featured at the Tate St. Ives Gallery in Cornwall. Among the many new works commissioned for these U.K. performances are Hubbert Peak: Three Gas Stations for String Quartet and Dr. Johnson and Mr. Savage: Pantomime for Violinist and Cellist (both for members of the Kreutzer Quartet, in residence at RAM). Both these works were premiered in the spring of 2008 at London’s recently rediscovered Victorian vaudeville theatre, Wilton’s Music Hall. Other works by Rose—sprung from the fertile ground of the exchange program—have been performed in Mexico, Kosovo, Macedonia, Slovenia, under the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, at London’s National Portrait Gallery, and in the Enlightenment Gallery of the British Museum. Rose’s Pastoral Concerto for Violin and Orchestra—commissioned by his exchange program co-director, violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved—was premiered with Sheppard Skaerved as soloist and the Vanderbilt Orchestra, under the direction of Robin Fountain, in November of 2008, marking one more milestone in the exchange between Blair and RAM.
A further outgrowth of Rose’s exchange program work is The Periodic Table (Chamber Concerto for Piano and Eight Players), for pianist Aaron Shorr, Head of Keyboards at the RSAMD in Glasgow, where the concerto was premiered at the International Piano Festival in June, 2009.
Three more works were premiered in Wilton’s Music Hall in 2009: Everything Under the Sun: Four Seasons for Two Violins, An Arch Never Sleeps for Violin and Double Bass, featuring virtuoso bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, and Hopeful Monsters, for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. In 2010, Rose’s first book, Audible Signs: Essays from a Musical Ground, was published by Continuum Books. That same year, he composed Five Bucolics for tenor Tony Boutté, a setting of poems by Maurice Manning, who attended the Nashville performance of the song cycle in 2012.
Three works completed on sabbatical in 2012 (all of which will be premiered in 2013) are Sedentary Dances: Scenes for Cello and Orchestra (for Felix Wang), Unturned Stones (Duo for Violin and Viola, for violist Diana Mathews), and Beatitudes: Five Nuptial Flights for Tenor and Piano. Civil Disobedients, a solo piano work-in-progress investigating extended techniques, will be featured on Australian pianist Zubin Kanga’s international concert tour next year.
Professor Rose studied with Pulitzer-Prize winning composers George Crumb and Richard Wernick, as well as with two other legendary mentors, George Rochberg and Samuel Adler. Rose’s work as a teacher is an integral part of his life as a composer. He has won several major teaching awards at Vanderbilt, including the prestigious Chair of Teaching Excellence.