Benjamin Rous headshot
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Benjamin Wood Rous

Associate Professor
Music Director of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Music
Office location and address
30 South Lawn
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
Biography

Admired for his dynamism on the podium, Benjamin Rous was hired as Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and quickly became a favorite among audiences throughout southeastern Virginia.  Promoted to Resident Conductor in 2013, he took on an expanded role on the VSO's calendar, where he performs annually on every series including Classics, Regional Classics, Pops and the VSO@Roper series.  In the summers he pursues his love of education, serving as faculty conductor at Greenwood Music Camp in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Recent guest appearances include debuts with the National Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Long Beach Symphony, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Santa Fe Symphony.  Highlights of past seasons include performances with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the Illinois Symphony, and on St. Louis's Pulitzer Concerts with musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.  Rous was featured in the 2013 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony, and in the summer of 2014 was called upon by the Grant Park Music Festival to fill in for a delayed conductor on less than 24 hours’ notice.

An accomplished instrumentalist, Rous has concertized extensively on violin, viola and keyboard instruments.  He has served as guest Principal 2nd violin with Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he performed under the batons of Claudio Abbado and Daniel Harding, including European tours and a teaching residency with El Sistema students in Caracas.  He was a regular member of the Boston-area Arcturus Chamber Ensemble for a decade, and has led the Virginia Symphony Orchestra from the harpsichord in baroque repertoire.

Benjamin Rous studied music at Harvard with an emphasis on composition, graduating with highest honors.  His works have been performed by diverse ensembles including the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Greenwood Orchestra and the Fromm Players.  During his college years, he served as Music Director of Harvard Bach Society Orchestra and Lowell House Opera, studied performance practice with Robert Levin and performed on baroque violin with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra as section leader and soloist.  He went on to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, where he also studied harpsichord and pursued his interest in dance.  He received further guidance in festivals and masterclasses from David Zinman, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier, Marin Alsop and Lorin Maazel.

MUSI 1310: Basic Musical Skills
Credits: 3
Not open to students already qualified to elect MUSI 2302 or 3310. Study of the rudiments of music and training in the ability to read music. Prerequisite: No previous knowledge of music required.
MUSI 1410: Symphonic Listening
Credits: 3
Symphonic Listening focuses on the sounds and forms of symphonic music. Listening skills are emphasized, with no prior musical knowledge required. We will learn to recognize orchestral instruments by their timbre, discern levels of consonance and dissonance, identify types of textures, and think critically about how musical content expresses cultural context. Students will gain a framework for understanding symphonic music of any genre.
MUSI 2559: New Course in Music
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics in the subject of Music.
MUSI 2993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 3410: Orchestration I: Anatomy of the Orchestra
Credits: 3
This course will examine the symphony orchestra in detail, covering the capabilities of every orchestral instrument, and study how they are combined by master composers. Students will create arrangements for string quartet, woodwind quintet, and full orchestra. The majority of these projects will receive readings by ensembles. Students may be asked to bring instruments to class for demonstration purposes.
MUSI 3559: New Course in Music
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics in the subject of Music.
MUEN 3610: Orchestra
Credits: 2
Orchestra Prerequisite: Instructor permission by audition. Note: Because the subject matter changes each semester, courses numbered MUEN 3600-3690 may be repeated for credit, but no more than sixteen performance credits may be applied toward the baccalaureate degree in the College.
MUSI 3993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 4410: Orchestration 2
Credits: 3
Study of the evolving styles of orchestration, from the Classical era through the present-day. Close study of orchestral masterworks spanning these eras. Students will create short orchestrations emulating styles of specific composers.
MUSI 4559: New Course in Music
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics in the subject of Music.
MUSI 4710: Instrumental Conducting I
Credits: 3
Studies the theory and practice of conducting, score analysis, and rehearsal technique. Prerequisite: MUSI 3320 and instructor permission.
MUSI 4720: Instrumental Conducting II
Credits: 3
Studies the theory and practice of conducting, score analysis, and rehearsal technique. Prerequisite: MUSI 3320 and instructor permission.
MUSI 4993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.