Steven Stucky

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Steven Edward Stucky (November 7, 1949 − February 14, 2016) was 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] Stucky worked with Karel Husa and Daniel Sternberg.[citation needed]

Stucky wrote 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.[2] He teamed with the celebrated pianist and author Jeremy Denk to create his first opera, The Classical Style (based on the celebrated book by Charles Rosen), which premiered in June 2014 at the Ojai Music Festival.[3] Other noteworthy compositions by Stucky include the symphonic poem Radical Light (2007), Rhapsodies for Orchestra (2008), the oratorio August 4, 1964 (2008), a Symphony (2012), and his Second Concerto for Orchestra (2003), which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Music.[4][5]

Stucky was an expert on the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski and authored the 1981 study Lutoslawski and His Music. He also was curator of the Philharmonia Orchestra's 2013 centenary celebration of that composer, Woven Words: Music Begins Where Words End. Stucky was the Given Foundation Professor of Composition at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.[citation needed]

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.[6] In 2014 he became Professor Emeritus at Cornell and joined the composition faculty at the Juilliard School.[7]

Among the composers who studied with Stucky are 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, Stephen Andrew Taylor, Sean Shepherd, Chris Arrell and Jesse Jones.[8] He 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, Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, the Tanglewood Music Center, and many others.[citation needed]

Stucky died of brain cancer at his home in Ithaca, New York on February 14, 2016. His survivors include his second wife, Kristen Frey Stucky, his two children from his first marriage to Melissa Stucky, Matthew and Maura, two brothers, and two sisters.[9]





  • 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[26]
  • 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[27][28][29]
  • 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
  • The Music of Light (2015) for double a cappella SATB choir[30]


  • Duo (1969), for viola & cello
  • 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[26]
  • 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[26]
  • Tamayo Nocturne (2001), for chamber ensemble
  • Sonate en forme de préludes (2003–04), for oboe, horn & harpsichord
  • Meditation and Dance (2004), for clarinet & piano[26]
  • 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[26]
  • Album Leaves (2002), for solo piano[26]
  • 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. ^ "Steven Stucky biography". Theodore Presser. Archived from the original on May 26, 2003. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  2. ^ Druckenbrod, Andrew (February 12, 2012). "Composer Steven Stucky's new piece will honor Rachel Carson's work". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  3. ^ Boehm, Mike (December 4, 2013). "Ojai Music Festival to premiere a comic opera by Denk and Stucky". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Child, Fred (April 5, 2005). "Steven Stucky Wins Pulitzer Prize for Music". NPR. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music". The New York Times. 2005. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Oksenhorn, Stewart (July 21, 2013). "Music Festival: A new start for new music in Aspen". The Aspen Times. Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "Composers Matthias Pintscher and Steven Stucky to Join The Juilliard School's Composition Faculty This Fall 2014". The Juilliard School.
  8. ^ Swed, Mark (October 31, 2013). "Review: A smoother sound from Juilliard String Quartet". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  9. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (15 February 2016). "Steven Stucky, Composer Who Won a Pulitzer, Dies at 66". The New York Times. p. B11.
  10. ^ Keebaugh, Aaron (March 29, 2014). "BMOP offers a riveting, rhapsodic Lei Liang premiere". Boston Classical Review. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Cariaga, Daniel (January 19, 1990). "Music Reviews: Vaughan Williams, Stucky Works at the Philharmonic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  12. ^ Rhein, John von (March 30, 1996). "Gielen Leads Cso In Beethoven, Steven Stucky's World Premiere". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  13. ^ Druckenbrod, Andrew (January 14, 2012). "PSO abounds with a spirited sound: Concert review". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  14. ^ Swed, Mark (March 15, 2004). "Sounds of eternal spring: Composer Steven Stucky's Second Concerto is a lush, tailored fit for Disney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  15. ^ Kozinn, Allan (June 13, 2012). "New Composers and New Sounds Converge in Buffalo". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  16. ^ "2007 New Music Festival schedule". The Courier-Journal. September 27, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  17. ^ Kosman, Joshua (December 5, 2009). "Stucky's 'Radical Light' a feast of mood, color". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  18. ^ Rhein, John von (December 2, 2011). "Jaap van Zweden directs bracing Mahler symphony with CSO". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  19. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (September 19, 2008). "The Conductor Asked for Something Rhapsodic; the Composer Delivered a Surprise". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  20. ^ Druckenbrod, Andrew (February 18, 2012). "PSO takes hard look at turmoil, both environmental and human". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  21. ^ Kanny, Mark (February 18, 2012). "Offerings of 'Silent Spring,' venerated material excel". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  22. ^ Ng, David (September 26, 2012). "Steven Stucky marks return to L.A. with his very own 'Symphony'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  23. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (November 30, 2012). "A New Work Bares Its Secrets, With Feeling". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  24. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (December 5, 2014). "We're Nothing but Busts, Mozart. Busts!". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  25. ^ Swed, Mark (June 16, 2014). "Review 'Classical Style' at Ojai Music Festival draws on wit, wisdom". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  26. ^ a b c d e f Woodard, Josef (March 27, 2007). "Steven Stucky shows modern touch: The composer balances complexity, immediacy at Cal Lutheran's New Music Concert". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  27. ^ Oestreich, James R. (September 19, 2008). "All the Way Through Fateful Day for L.B.J." The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  28. ^ Ross, Alex (June 6, 2011). "Mix And Match: Spring for Music, at Carnegie Hall". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  29. ^ Cantrell, Scott (June 25, 2012). "Classical CD review: DSO releases Stucky's 'August 4, 1964'". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  30. ^ Sarah Bryan Miller (2016-04-11). "St. Louis Chamber Chorus Considers 'All Manner of Gods'". Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2016-05-08.
  31. ^ Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich, ed. (2010). The Pulitzer Prize Winners for Music: Composer Biographies, Premiere Programs and Jury Reports. Peter Lang. p. 263. ISBN 978-3631596081.
  32. ^ Paget, Clive (February 13, 2013). "Classical GRAMMY Awards 2013". Limelight. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  33. ^ [1] Retrieved March 2016

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