Born in Moss Point, Mississippi in 1953, Rouse began composing and improvising at age five, subsequently studying piano, bassoon, and saxophone. At thirteen he began four years as a bassoonist in the Gulf Coast Symphony and also began performing with his first rhythm and blues group. His principal composition teachers included Luigi Zaninelli at the University of Southern Mississippi (BM Theory/Composition) and, at the University of Michigan, where he received his Master of Music and Doctorate of Music in composition, Leslie Bassett and William Albright. While a graduate student, Rouse served for three years as Music Director and accompanist for the Dance Department of Eastern Michigan University and started a successful jingle production company partnership in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area. At the conclusion of his graduate studies, his "Hexachords and Their Trichordal Generators: An Introduction" was published in the music theory journal, In Theory Only, December 1985, Volume 8, Number 8, p.19-43. As Composer in Residence for the Meet The Composer Louisville Residency from 1995-1998, Rouse wrote music for all levels of public school music ensembles and worked extensively with students, teachers, and administrators to develop and implement musical outreach programs. The residency offered a unique opportunity to work closely with local government and social service agencies to create outreach possibilities surrounding musical creativity, such as the highly visible and successful Young Composers program. In 1988 Rouse joined the faculty of the University of Louisville, having previously taught at the University of Utah and, as a Teaching Fellow, at the University of Michigan. In Spring 1999, Rouse was a full-time Visiting Professor of Composition at Indiana University Bloomington. Currently, he is Professor of Theory and Composition at the University of Louisville School of Music.