Steven Stucky

Steven Stucky


• 1949 2016


Steven Stucky was a frequently performed American composer of the late 20th and early 21st centuries who was noted especially for the inventiveness of his orchestration. Born in Kansas and raised in Abilene, TX, Stucky went on to study at Baylor University and Cornell University, where his teachers included Robert Palmer and Karel Husa. He was known especially for his orchestral music, but he also wrote a number of concertos for instruments including cello, guitar, two flutes, percussion, and recorder, as well as music for choir, wind ensemble, and chamber ensemble, and many works for voice and orchestra. His music is widely recorded and is available on labels such as Hyperion, BIS, Teldec, Albany, Bridge, Innova, and CRI. Among his most important works are his first and second concertos for orchestra, Funeral Music for Queen Mary for wind ensemble, and Spirit Voices for percussion and orchestra.

His music has been performed by many of the leading American orchestras, including New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Dallas Symphony. He had an especially close relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. André Previn named him composer-in-residence in 1988 and he continued to work closely with Previn's successor, Esa-Pekka Salonen. The orchestra commissioned his Second Concerto for Orchestra, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005. He was also a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for his first Concerto for orchestra. Recordings of his works have won three Grammy Awards.

Stucky was active as a conductor and led Ensemble X, an Ithaca-based contemporary music ensemble he founded, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group. He was an internationally recognized authority on Witold Lutoslawski, who was an important compositional influence on his own style, and he was the author of Lutoslawski and His Music (1981), for which he which he won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Since 1980, he taught at Cornell, where he was Given Foundation Professor of Composition.