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Louis Rosen - Composer, Lyricist, Performer, Author


1) Albums  2) Books  3) Musical Theater  4) Instrumental Concert Music  5) Selected Awards 6) Recent Performance Highlights 7) Music for Plays (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional) and Theater Suites  8) Additional Selected Song Cycles  9) Music for Film


I. Albums

1. I Don't Know Anything: An Album in Three Acts (CD, Di-tone Records™, 2020), 14 songs, music and lyrics by Louis Rosen (2 songs co-written with Arthur Perlman) and two Songs Without Words.

2. Phenomenal Woman: The Maya Angelou Songs and Songs Without Words (CD, Di-tone Records™ 2018 - Louis Rosen & Capathia Jenkins), 11 songs and 4 instrumentals. Music Composed and Arranged by Louis Rosen. Lyrics by Maya Angelou.

3. Dust to Dust Blues (CD, Di-tone Records™, 2017), 14 songs, music and lyrics by Louis Rosen (3 songs co-written with Thom Bishop).

4. Act One: Piano Music from the Theater (CD, Di-tone Records™, 2017) featuring three complete instrumental suites ("Act One Suite"; "Into Night and On the Verge"; "Orchards") and individual movements for solo piano ("Pageant"; "Waltz for Steve"; "Waltz in 5/4"); and piano-four hands ("Cardinals' Waltz" from "Music for Galileo)

5. Dream Suite: Songs in Jazz and Blues on Poems by Langston Hughes (CD, Di-tone Records™, 2016), a cycle of 14 songs for two singers. Vocalists: Alton Fitzgerald White and Capathia Jenkins. Pianist: Joe Thalken. 

6. Time Was (CD, Di-tone Records, 2013), a cycle of 13 songs with words by poets including Edwin Arlington Robinson, John Erskine, William Butler Yeats, Langston Hughes, Sara Teasdale, Madison Cawein, Alice Cary, William Stanley Braithwaite and Lord Byron.

7. The Ache of Possibility (CD, Di-tone Records, 2009 – Louis Rosen & Capathia Jenkins), 12 songs, eight with words by LR, four with words by Nikki Giovanni.

8. One Ounce of Truth: The Nikki Giovanni Songs (CD, PS Classics, 2008 – Louis Rosen & Capathia Jenkins), 13 songs on poetry by Nikki Giovanni.

9. South Side Stories (CD, Rosecap/Di-tone Records, 2006 – Louis Rosen & Capathia Jenkins), a 12-song cycle, music & lyrics by Louis Rosen.


II. Books

The South Side: The Racial Transformation of an American Neighborhood (1998), memoir and oral narrative history. Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, Inc., Chicago, cloth and paperback (1999).

            The South Side (1999), a spoken cantata based on the book. Premiere: Theater J, Washington, D.C.; 2nd Production: George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

BEYOND CATEGORY: Music Theory from Bach through The Beatles for the Popular or Classical Musician (2015).


III. Musical Theater

A Child’s Garden (2000, music, lyrics adaptation and co-libretto), libretto with Arthur Perlman and Charlotte Maier, based on autobiographical writings of Robert Louis Stevenson. Premiere: Melting Pot Theater, Off-Broadway. 

Book of the Night (1991, revised 1997, music, co-lyrics/libretto), lyrics & libretto with Thom Bishop. Premiere: Goodman Theater, Chicago.

The Ugly Duckling (1983, music & lyrics), a one-act musical, book by Alan Rosen based on the play by A. A. Milne. Premiere: 1989 Ann Arbor Summer Arts Festival.


IV. Instrumental Concert Music

Winter Carols · Music for A Christmas Carol (2021), Five movements for piano, four-hands or two pianos

The Pearl Octet ·  Twelve Instrumental Scenes for an Imagined Theater (2020), inspired by John Steinbeck's novella, "The Pearl, for eight players

The Pearl Suite for Chamber Orchestra ·  Seven Instrumental Scenes for an Imagined Theater (2020), inspired by John Steinbeck's novella, "The Pearl

Sextet in Six Movements (2020)

Twelve Guitar Preludes (2019), for solo guitar

Suite for Clarinet and Piano (2019) in six movements   

Riversongs Octet (2019), in six movements

Black Loom Epilogue (2019), five instrumental Songs Without Words for jazz sextet

Riversongs Trio (2020), three Instrumental Songs Without Words for piano, flute and clarinet (2020) 

Act One: a Suite in Six Parts (2015) for piano solo (included on the 2017 CD, ACT ONE: Piano Music from the Theater)

Into Night and On the Verge (1993) two movements for two pianos or piano four-hands. Premiere: 92nd Street Y (included on the 2017 CD, ACT ONE: Piano Music from the Theater)

Orchards (1987) two movements for two pianos or piano four-hands. Premiere: 92nd Street Y. (Included on the 2017 CD, ACT ONE: Piano Music from the Theater)


V. Selected Awards

Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition, 2005

Puffin Foundation Grant, 2006

Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Production Grant (“A Child’s Garden”), 2000

National Endowment of the Arts New American Works Grant, 1995

2nd Annual Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Music Theater Award, 1992

Annual ASCAP Awards, 1993-2020

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Galileo Prize, 2005

Anna Sosenko Trust Award, 2006

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowships, 1988-90/’92 & ‘94

New York Post Top Ten Off-Broadway for "A Child's Garden," 2000

Chicago's John W. Schmid Award, Best New Work: "Book of the Night," 1991

MAC Nomination, Song of the Year for “Seventeen on Mars,” 2004

Meet the Composer Grant via 92nd Street Y, 1985


VI. Recent Performance Highlights 

"I Don't Know Anything", with Louis Rosen and His Large Band, January 26, 2020, Birdland Jazz Club

"Phenomenal Woman & More... with Capathia Jenkins and the Jenkins/Rosen Quartet, March 15 & 16, 2019 at The Cabaret in Indianapolis.

"Phenomenal Woman & Songs Without Words", with Capathia Jenkins and the Jenkins/Rosen Sextet, October 25-27, 2018 at Birdland.Jazz Club

Louis Rosen & Friends: Dust to Dust Blues and Act One, with David Mansfield and Kimberly Grigsby, June 3 &, 2018 at The Duplex

"Dream Suite" at Birdland, with Capathia Jenkins, Alton Fitzgerald White and Kimberly Grigsby, June 27, 2016.

"Karen Mason & Louis Rosen: Two Friends" at Davenport's in Chicago November 2015 - 4 shows, and The Duplex in NYC, December 2016 - 3 shows.

"Love of Song: The Music of Louis Rosen", a Retrospective. 92Y, NYC, June 15, 2015.  Vocalists: Capathia Jenkins, Darius de Haas and Karen Mason. Musicians: Kimberly Grigsby, Dave Phillips, David Mansfield, Charity Wicks. 

Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, NYC (15 concerts over five multiple show runs)

Birdland Jazz Club, NYC (3 appearances)

The Great Hall at Cooper Union, NYC (2 appearances)

The Iridium Jazz Club, NYC (3 appearances)

WNYC's "Soundcheck," with host John Schaeffer (2 appearances, performance & interview)

The Metropolitan Room, NYC (5 appearances)

Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Zimbabwe, Africa

Northwestern University's Lewis Theater, Evanston, IL (3 concerts)

Freight and Salvage, San Francisco, CA

The Steppenwolf Theater in Concert, Chicago, IL

The Eighth Step Concert Series at the Proctor Theater, Schenectady, NY (2 appearances)

The Gardenia Club, Los Angeles, CA

Davenport's, Chicago

Washington, D.C.'s 6th Street & I Historic Synagogue with Theater J

Brooklyn Public Library's Dweck Center (2 appearances)

Brooklyn's Old Stone House

Makor at the 92nd Street Y, NYC


VIII. Music for Plays and Theater Suites


Act One (2014) written and directed by James Lapine, based on the memoir by Moss Hart; Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center.

(Act One Suite in Six Parts for Solo Piano, included on the 2017 CD, ACT ONE: Piano Music from the Theater)

The Rainmaker (1998/2000) by N. Richard Nash; Williamstown Theater Festival and Broadway, directed by Scott Ellis.

Picnic (1994) by William Inge; Roundabout Theater, Broadway, directed by Scott Ellis.

Arms and the Man (1985) by George Bernard Shaw; Circle in the Square Theater, directed by John Malkovich.


Northeast Local (1995) by Tom Doneghy; Lincoln Center Theater, directed by Gerald Gutierrez.

Titus Andronicus (1989) by William Shakespeare; New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theater, directed by Michael Maggio.

Orchards (1985-86), seven original one-act plays by Michael Weller, John Guare, Maria Irene Fornes, Spalding Gray, David Mamet, Wendy Wasserstein and Samm Art Williams based on short stories by Anton Chekhov; The Acting Company, Off-Broadway, Goodman Theater and National Tour, directed by Robert Falls. 

The Art of Self-Defense (1985) by Trish Johnson; MCC, directed by Steve Albrezzi.

Young Playwrights Festival (1982 & 1984) Circle Repertory and Public Theaters, 3 one-act plays directed by Elinor Renfield.

Regional (Selected Productions)

School For Husbands (2004) by Moliere, Translation by Richard Wilbur; Westport Country Playhouse, directed by Doug Hughes.

The Little Foxes (2003) by Lillian Hellman; Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C., directed by Doug Hughes.

Coriolanus (2000) by William Shakespeare; Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C., directed by Michael Kahn.

The Bungler (2000) by Moliere, translation (world-premiere) by Richard Wilbur; Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT; directed by Doug Hughes. 

Peer Gynt (1998) by Henrik Ibsen; Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C., directed by Michael Kahn.

(Peer Gynt Suite: for four singers and nine players)

As You Like It (1997) by William Shakespeare; Shakespeare Theatre, directed by Lawrence Boswell.

Mother Courage and Her Children (1993, music & co-translation of lyrics) by Bertolt Brecht, translation by Haniff Kureishi; Shakespeare Theatre, directed by Michael Kahn.

(Mother Courage Song Suite for six singers and three players)

The Winter's Tale (1992) by William Shakespeare; Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, directed by Doug Hughes.

Twelfth Night (1991) by William Shakespeare; Seattle Repertory Theatre, directed by Doug Hughes.

(Twelfth Night Songs for baritone and four players.)

A Christmas Carol (1991-99) by Charles Dickens, adapted by David Thompson; McCarter Theatre, Princeton, directed by Scott Ellis.

(Winter Carolssix movements for piano, four hands)

The Tempest (1987) by William Shakespeare; Goodman Theatre, Chicago, directed by Robert Falls.

(Music for The Tempest in nine parts for four singers and eight players, including Five Tempest Songs)

Galileo (1986) by Bertolt Brecht, translation by Adrian Hall and James Schevill; Goodman Theatre, directed by Robert Falls.

(Music for Galileo (1986) four songs and one dance for six singers and three players. Cardinals' Waltz included on the 2017 CD, ACT ONE: Piano Music from the Theater)

On the Verge (1986) by Eric Overmyer; Huntington Theater Company, Boston, directed by Pam Berlin.

Doctor Faustus (1981) by Christopher Marlowe; Oak Park Festival Theater, Chicago, directed by Patrick O’Gara.

The Winter’s Tale (1978) by William Shakespeare; Court Theater, Chicago; directed by Michael Maggio.

(The Winter’s Tale Suite, five instrumental episodes for 8 players. Premiere: The Chicago Chamber Orchestra, William Russo, conducting)

Macbeth (1978) by William Shakespeare; Court Theater, Chicago; directed by Patrick O'Gara.

Thesmophoriasouzae (Ladies’ Day) (1977) by Aristophanes; Court Theater, Chicago; translated and directed by D. Nicholas Rudall.

(Three Choral Odes for women's chorus, piano and percussion)

Romeo and Juliet (1977) by William Shakespeare; Oak Park Festival Theater, Chicago; directed by Dennis Zacek.


VIII. Additional Selected Song Cycles

THE BLACK LOOM TRILOGY, three song cycles on the poems of three African-American poets (2002 - 2008):

It Is Still Dark: Songs of Exile (Songs for Sondra - 2003) - a six-song cycle with on poems by Celso Gonzalez-Falla. Premiere: Great Hall at Cooper Union, June 2006. Vocalist: Darius de Haas. Pianist: James Sampliner. (Recording in LR Archive.)

A Child’s Garden Song Suite (1992), a 10-song suite on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson from “A Child’s Garden of Verses. (Recording in LR Archive.)

Five Riversongs (1985), a cycle for two singers and two pianos, on poems by Edgar Lee Masters from “Spoon River Anthology;” Dual Premiere: Museum of the City of New York and the Bruno Walter Library at Lincoln Center. (Recording in LR Archive.)

Riversongs (1980, revised 1984), a choral song cycle in six movements, on poems by Edgar Lee Masters from “Spoon River Anthology.”

Four Songs (1983), on words by Carl Sandburg, Layle Silbert and Alena Synkova; Premiere: American Society for Jewish Music concert at The 92nd Street Y. (Recording in LR Archive.)

IX. Music for Film

Act One (2015) written and directed by James Lapine for Live From Lincoln Center, PBS. Premiere: November 13, 2015.

Long Gone Charlie (1984), a film by David Davidson, Arts & Entertainment Network.



Click here for Louis' complete Song Catalogue


Go to In the Classroom for information about Louis' work as an educator ...