Rouse's main achievements were the operas
Glass Bead Game (1983), based on the Herman Hesse novel;
Failing Kansas (1994), based on Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood", which introduced "counterpoetry," a technique wherby several tapes of unpitched vocals are layered to produce a polyrhythmic effect;
Dennis Cleveland (1996), which introduced the format of the television talk-show to musical theater;
The End Of Cinematics (2002).
Living Inside Design (New Tone, 1994) is a 1994 cycle of leaders that demonstrate "counterpoetry".
Other significant compositions include:
Quartet (1981) for three violins and double bass;
Autumn In New York (1982), Red 20 (1984) and American Nova (1985) for orchestra;
Colorado Suite (1984) for violin and electronics;
Book One (1986), a cycle of string quartets;
the song cycle Set The Timer - Uptight (1986);
the piano suite Two Paradoxes Resolved (1989);
Hope Chest (1991) for chamber quartet;
Copperhead (1992) for electric quartet;
Kiss Him Goodbye (1993) for voices and electronics;
Soul Menu (1993) repetitive minimalist music for chamber ensemble;
Autorequiem (1994), for string orchestra, percussion and "counterpoetry;
Return (1999), a collection of songs based on samples from his quartets;
The American Dream (Exit, 1999)
contains songs from The End Of Cinematics (1997).
Cameraworld (Exit, 2001) contains Body and Soul, When You Turn Your Face On, etc.
Funding (Exit, 2002) is a composition for cinema verite' and chamber orchestra documenting ordinary life in New York.
"The Demo" (2015) is an opera about a legendary software demo by computer
scientist Doug Engelbart, an opera composed by Ben Neill & Mikel Rouse.
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