Stephen Rush is a Professor at the University of Michigan, where he has taught for 30 years. He studied with third-stream pioneer Gunther Schuller, David Liptak and Samuel Adler, and is the author of the new book, “Free Jazz, Harmolodics and Ornette Coleman,” which includes extensive interviews with the jazz master himself.
Rush’s extensive compositional output includes five operas, chamber music (some of which is standard repertory), orchestra work and over 150 scores for dancers. His compositions have been recorded and performed worldwide by the Warsaw and Detroit Symphonies and members of the New York and Cleveland Philharmonics, and recently, classical ensembles in Spain, Korea, and Switzerland. As a performer, Rush has presented his multi-media work in Japan, Europe (Florence, Berlin, and Budapest, etc.), Latin America, and India. He has over 30 CD’s to his credit ranging from electronic experimental music, orchestra performances, chamber music, and jazz. He works often with his electronic group, “Crystal Mooncone” with Chris Peck and Jon Moniaci, as well as with his acoustic jazz group, “Naked Dance” with Andrew Bishop and Jeremy Edwards.
Rush is the director of the Digital Music Ensemble (DME) at the University of Michigan. With DME, Rush has premiered works by John Cage, Philip Glass, and LaMonte Young, and has recorded with Pauline Oliveros and “Blue” Gene Tyranny. The group has also worked with Alvin Lucier, Robert Ashley, Pamela Z and Elliott Sharp. DME is widely known for its site-specific work, “Gypsy Pond Music”, which is performed annually at the University of Michigan and elsewhere.
Stephen Rush works frequently as a jazz musician, performing with Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Grimes, Steve Swell, Eugene Chadbourne, the late Peter Kowald, and his own New York-based-trio Yuganaut, with Tom Abbs and Geoff Mann (including a new release on Nessa Records with Roscoe Mitchell). His first book, Better Get It In Your Soul, discusses radical approaches to church liturgy.
He has studied South Indian Classical vocal music for twenty years with Sharada Kumar (Ann Arbor), Sashi Kumar (Varinasi, India) and Kamala Rajalakshmi (Mysore, India). For the last seven years he has taken a dozen students to India for one month in the summer to study Classical Indian Dance and Music, as well as Yoga, Philosophy and Sociology. His work in this area is recognized internationally, including frequent requests to speak about Indian Music and Culture in the U.S. and in India, with an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the International Peace Conference in Mysore, India, 2011.
He also has an interesting side-career, having publicly interviewed such varied luminaries as Laurie Anderson, Ravi Shankar, LaMonte Young, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ornette Coleman, the Kronos Quartet, and revered Swami Chinmayananda.