Steven Stucky

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Steven Stucky (/ˈstʌki/; born November 7, 1949) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra presenting the premiere of Steven Stucky's oratorio, August 4, 1964.

Life and career[edit]

Stucky was born in Hutchinson, Kansas. At age 9, he moved with his family to Abilene, Texas, where, as a teenager, he studied music in the public schools and, privately, viola with Herbert Preston, conducting with Leo Scheer, and composition with Macon Sumerlin. He attended Baylor University and Cornell.[1][2] Stucky's principal composition teachers were Richard Willis, Robert Palmer, and Karel Husa; his principal conducting teacher was Daniel Sternberg.

Stucky has written commissioned works for many of the major American orchestras, including Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and St. Paul. He was long associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was resident composer 1988-2009 (the longest such affiliation in American orchestral history); he was host of the New York Philharmonic's Hear & Now series 2005-09; and he was Pittsburgh Symphony Composer of the Year for the 2011-12 season. For Pittsburgh, he composed Silent Spring, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson's epochal book of the same title.[3] He teamed with the celebrated pianist and author Jeremy Denk to create his first opera, The Classical Style''[4] (based on the well known book by Charles Rosen), which premiered in June 2014 at the Ojai Music Festival.[5]

A respected expert on the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski and author of the definitive 1981 study Lutoslawski and His Music, he was curator of the Philharmonia Orchestra's 2013 centenary celebration of that composer, titled Woven Words: Music Begins Where Words End.[6] He was Given Foundation Professor of Composition at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. There he founded Ensemble X and led it for nine seasons, from 1997 until 2006, while at the same time he also was the guiding force behind the celebrated Green Umbrella series in Los Angeles. He has also taught at Eastman and Berkeley, the latter as Ernest Bloch Professor in 2003. After several earlier teaching and conducting visits, in 2013 he became artist-faculty composer-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival and School.[7] In 2014 he became Professor Emeritus at Cornell and joined the composition faculty at the Juilliard School.[8]

Among the prominent composers who studied with Stucky are Stephan Prock, Fred Cohen, James Grant, Joseph Phibbs, Marc Mellits, Robert Paterson, David Conte, Thomas C. Duffy, Yotam Haber James Matheson, Steven Burke, Xi Wang, Spencer Topel, Diego Vega, Fang Man, Anna Weesner, Hannah Lash, Andrew Waggoner, Sean Shepherd, Yotam Haber, Chris Arrell, Jesse Jones, Eric Nathan, Julia Adolphe, and many others. He has taught master classes and served residencies around the world, including at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, Rice University, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, the Tanglewood Music Center, and many others.



  • Kenningar (Symphony No. 4) (1977–78)
  • Transparent Things: In Memoriam V.N. (1980)
  • Double Concerto (1982–85, rev. 1989), for violin, oboe/oboe d'amore & chamber orchestra
  • Voyages (1983–84), for cello & orchestral winds
  • Dreamwaltzes (1986)
  • Concerto for Orchestra (1986–87)
  • Son et Lumière (1988)
  • Threnos (1988), for wind ensemble
  • Angelus (1989–90)
  • Anniversary Greeting (1991)
  • Impromptus (1991)
  • Funeral Music for Queen Mary (after Purcell) (1992), for orchestral winds
  • To Whom I Said Farewell (1992, rev. 2003), for mezzo-soprano & chamber orchestra
  • Fanfare for Los Angeles (1993)
  • Ancora (1994)
  • Fanfares and Arias (1994), for wind ensemble
  • Fanfare for Cincinnati (1994)
  • Double Flute Concerto (1994), for two flutes & orchestra
  • Pinturas de Tamayo (1995)
  • Music for Saxophones and Strings (1996)
  • Concerto Mediterraneo (1998), for guitar & orchestra
  • Escondido Fanfare (1998)
  • American Muse (1999), for baritone & orchestra
  • Concerto for Percussion and Wind Orchestra (2001)
  • Colburn Variations (2002), for string orchestra
  • Etudes (2002), concerto for recorder & chamber orchestra
  • Spirit Voices (2002–03), concerto for percussion & orchestra
  • Second Concerto for Orchestra (2003)
  • Jeu de timbres (2003)
  • Hue and Cry (2006), for wind ensemble
  • Radical Light (2006–07)
  • Rhapsodies (2008)
  • Chamber Concerto (2009)
  • Silent Spring (2011)[9]
  • Symphony (2012)[10][11]



  • Spring and Fall: To a Young Child (1972), for a cappella SATB choir
  • Drop, drop, slow tears (1979), for a cappella SSAATTBB choir
  • Cradle Songs (1997), for a cappella SATB choir
  • To Musick (2000), for a cappella men's choir
  • Skylarks (2001), for a cappella S.A. & SATB choir
  • Whispers (2002), for a cappella SATB soli & SATTBB choir
  • Three New Motets (2005), for a cappella double SATB choir (O admirabile commercium, O sacrum convivium, O vos omnes)
  • Eyesight (2007), for a cappella SATB choir
  • August 4, 1964 (2007–08), for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor & baritone soli, SATB choir & orchestra[12][13][14][15]
  • The Kingdom of God (In No Strange Land) (2008), for a cappella SATB choir
  • Gravity’s Dream (2009), for a cappella SATB choir
  • Say Thou Dost Love Me (2012) for a cappella SATB choir
  • Take Him, Earth (2012) for SATB choir with chamber orchestra
  • Winter Stars (2014) for a cappella SATB choir


  • Movements (1970), for four celli
  • Quartet (1972–73), for clarinet, viola, cello & piano
  • Movements III.: Seven Sketches (1976), for flute & clarinet
  • Refrains (1976), for five percussion
  • Notturno (1981), for alto saxophone & piano
  • Varianti (1982), for flute, clarinet & piano
  • Boston Fancies (1985), for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola & cello
  • Serenade (1990), for wind quintet
  • Birthday Fanfare (1993), for three trumpets
  • Salute (1997), for flute, clarinet, horn, trombone, percussion, piano, violin & cello
  • Ad Parnassum (1998), for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin & cello
  • Ai due amici (1998), for chamber ensemble
  • Tres Pinturas (1998), for violin & piano
  • Nell'ombra, nella luce (1999–2000), for string quartet
  • Partita-Pastorale after J.S.B. (2000), for clarinet, piano & string quartet
  • Tamayo Nocturne (2001), for chamber ensemble
  • Sonate en forme de préludes (2003–04), for oboe, horn & harpsichord
  • Meditation and Dance (2004), for clarinet & piano
  • Piano Quartet (2005), for violin, viola, cello & piano
  • Four Postcards (2008), for wind quintet & marimba
  • Piano Quintet (2009–10), for two violins, viola, cello & piano
  • Scherzino (2010), for alto saxophone and piano
  • Allegretto quasi Andantino (Schubert Dream) (2010), for piano four hands
  • Aus der Jugendzeit (2011), for bass-baritone, flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion
  • Rain Shadow (2012), for violin, viola, cello & piano
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano (2013)
  • Cantus (2015), for 6 players


  • Sappho Fragments (1982), for female voice & chamber ensemble
  • Two Holy Sonnets of Donne (1982), mezzo-soprano, oboe & piano
  • Four Poems of A.R. Ammons (1992), for baritone & chamber ensemble
  • To Whom I Said Farewell (1992, rev. 2003), for mezzo-soprano & chamber orchestra
  • American Muse (1999), for baritone & orchestra
  • Aus der Jugendzeit (2010–11), for baritone & chamber ensemble
  • The Stars and the Roses (2013), for tenor & orchestra
  • The Stars and the Roses (2013), for tenor & chamber ensemble
  • Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking (2014), for bass-baritone & piano

Solo instrumental[edit]

  • Three Little Variations for David (2000), for solo piano
  • Album Leaves (2002), for solo piano
  • Dialoghi (2006), for solo cello
  • Dust Devil (2009), for solo marimba
  • Isabelle Dances (2009–10), for solo marimba
  • Sonata for Piano (2014)

Arrangements of music by other composers[edit]



  1. ^ "State of the Art: A conversation with composer Steven Stucky". Ithaca Times. October 31, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  2. ^ "Steven Stucky biography". Theodore Presser. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  3. ^ "Composer Steven Stucky's new piece will honor Rachel Carson's work - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Oksenhorn, Stewart (July 21, 2013). "Music Festival: A new start for new music in Aspen". The Aspen Times. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "PSO takes hard look at turmoil, both environmental and human". 2012-02-18. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  10. ^ Ng, David (September 26, 2012). "Steven Stucky marks return to L.A. with his very own 'Symphony'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (November 30, 2012). "A New Work Bares Its Secrets, With Feeling". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Functions of Quotations in Steven stucky's Oratorio (August 1964) and their Placements within the Context of a Quotation Continuum: Cultural, Commentary, Remembrance and Unity" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  13. ^ Daniel J. Wakin. "Two Wars, Two Presidents, One Oratorio". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-24.  (login required)
  14. ^ James R. Oestreich. "All The Way Through Fateful Day For L.B.J.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-24.  (login required)
  15. ^ Antony Tommasini. "Strife of ’64 in Somber Tones". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-24.  (login required)

External links[edit]