Marjorie Rusche is an internationally performed award winning contemporary classical composer who combines romantic, modernist, and vernacular influences in her music.  Dr. Rusche composes for opera, music theater, orchestra, chorus, a variety of vocal and instrumental chamber ensembles, soloists, dance, and theatre. 

Songs from Comments and Songs of Love and Death were performed March 7, 2014 on the New York City Underworld Productions Opera CrossCURRENT concert.  She was a guest composer March 2, 2013, with Musica Reginae Productions, New York City and was honored as a guest composer at the 13th London New Music for Winds Festival, November 19, 2010, in London, England.  Her compositions have been performed live and on radio in Amsterdam, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, San Francisco, Vienna, Kenya, Spain, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, and Wisconsin, her birth state.

Awards and commissions include:  2017 Indiana Arts Commission grant - Arts in the Parks and Historic Sites Creativity Workshops; 2016 Calliope’s Call International Composition Competition Honorable Mention; 2015-2016 Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship – Music Composition; 2015 University of Notre Dame Chorale; 2015-2016 Masterworks Chorale, Muncie, IN; 2014 South Bend Chamber Singers; 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 Music Composition Professional Development Faculty Grants, Indiana University South Bend; 2012 Music Composition Commission from USA Projects, Artists2Artists Fund, USA Open Matching Fund, Cheswatyr Music Commissioning Fund (American Composers Forum) and 30 individual donors; 2012 Associate Faculty Merit Status, Indiana University South Bend; 2011 Stickley Foundation Grant for Music Composition; 2011 Curriculum Development Grant, Indiana University; 2010 Associate Faculty Travel Grant, Indiana University South Bend; 2010-2011 IU South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future Sustainability Fellow; Columbia College Chicago Follett Fellowship; Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir commission; Portland, OR Regional Arts Commission grant; Indiana Music Teachers Association Convention Commission; South Bend Symphony Orchestra; the American Music Center’s Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program, New York City; DuPage Chorale/American Composers Forum-Chicago Chapter; Stickley Foundation Opera Commission Award, South Bend, IN; Indiana State Arts Board Individual Composer Fellowship; Meet The Composer-Midwest; the Jerome Foundation, St. Paul, MN; the American Chamber Opera Company, New York City; Gotham Ensemble, New York City; Meet The Composer-New York Composer Performance Fund Award; Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, IN; McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition, St. Paul, MN; Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist Fellowship in Music Composition; Minnesota Composers Forum Demo Tape Grant; the Schubert Club, St. Paul, MN; Minnesota Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation Composers Commissioning Program Award; Skylight Comic Opera Theater, Milwaukee, WI; DANCECIRCUS, Milwaukee, WI and yearly ASCAP Standard Awards,

Dr. Rusche is affiliated with ASCAP, New Music USA, College Music Society, and is a charter member of the American Composers Forum (aka Minnesota Composers Forum).

She currently teaches or has taught music composition, orchestration, opera history, music theory, music history, and piano at Indiana University South Bend, the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, Colombia College Chicago and Southwestern Michigan College.  She also taught in Kenya while serving in the U.S. Peace Corps.  She earned her D.M. in Music Composition from the Jacobs School of Music Indiana University-Bloomington, and her M.A. in Music Composition/Theory from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.   

Please view for audio files of some of her music compositions.


Eclipse and Piano Portraits:  Nightwatch  (piano solos) . . . “It’s music just as wonderful as you can hear in Manhattan, or anywhere else, and obviously we heard that here tonight.”  -- Randall Horton quoted by Andrew Shilling, Arts Writer for Queens Ledger, Forest Hills Times, Greenpoint Star, New York City press, March 2013

Eclipse (piano solo)  " . . . a particularly evocative piece -- Rusche conjures extremes of sunlight and darkness, then the moon's shadow hiding the sun's light, finally resolving into an embodiment of the sun's renewed brilliance . . . In 'Eclipse" Rusche has managed to write a complicated intellectual piece while still presenting a pleasant, highly listenable musical narrative." -- Jack Walton, South Bend Tribune, February, 2010

Dreaming the Ragwaltz Blues (piano concerto) . . . “The powerful melodies told a story ending in a whisper of silence . . . “ – Marcia C. Porter, South Bend Tribune, April 2003

Fanfare for the Millennium (full orchestra) . . .  “an international flavor, combining folk-inspired melodies, vigorous percussion and sometimes playful exchanges between sections of the orchestra . . . . accessible and echoing with recognizable motives.” – Julie York, South Bend Tribune, April 2000

She Stoops to Conquer (chamber opera) . . . “ Moments of dramatic revelation play in counterpoint to tightly crafted comedic scenes . . . Rusche’s instrumental accompaniment sets the tone for each scene . . . “I wanted a variety of textures on stage – musical textures, vocal textures, dramatic textures, emotional textures,” Rusche said.” -- Julie York, South Bend Tribune, May 1999

Goddess Songs (choral dance opera) . . . “musical exploration of the mythology of seven Greek goddesses . . . The evocative text, by Rusche, creates images of each goddess, poetic yet emphasizing the feminine as it most clearly resonates with modern concerns about love, desire and relationship. The music is dramatically apt, at ease with the text, and heartfelt.” – Mike Steele, Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 1996