Steven Stucky

  • Composer Steven Stucky (1949-2016), whose Second Concerto for Orchestra brought him the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Music, received commissions from countless orchestras, performing groups, individuals and foundations at home and abroad. The New York Times described his Second Concerto for Orchestra – commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and premiered by the orchestra in March, 2004 – as “an electrifying piece … [that] stands apart from academic disputes about style and language, and strives for direct communication.”

    The 2014-15 season brought a number of important Stucky premieres and performances. Led by Artistic Director Steven Sametz, the Princeton Singers kicked off the season with the world premiere of Winter Stars, a setting of Sara Teasdale’s poem of the same name, in a special concert celebrating the chamber choir’s 30th anniversary. The Pittsburgh Symphony, under conductor Manfred Honeck, performed Silent Spring at Carolina Performing Arts in Chapel Hill, NC. The work, a one-movement orchestral tone poem in four sections, was commissioned during Stucky’s tenure as the orchestra’s 2011 Composer of the Year. His Piano Sonata received its world premiere by Gloria Cheng in the “Piano Spheres” series at Los Angeles’s Zipper Hall. And New York-based orchestral collective The Knights joined vocal soloists at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall for the New York premiere of The Classical Style, a new opera—Stucky’s first—composed to a libretto by MacArthur Fellow Jeremy Denk. The opera triumphed at its 2014 Ojai Music Festival debut, when it inspired a wealth of glowing praise.

    The prior season saw the Choral Arts Society of Washington DC host the East Coast premiere of Take Him, Earth (2012), Stucky’s choral composition commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, while Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music premiered the chamber version of Stucky’s song cycle The Stars and the Roses (2012-13) to critical acclaim. Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin and pianist Jon Kimura Parker performed the Violin Sonata (2013) at La Jolla SummerFest, the Kansas City Symphony undertook the Pulitzer Prize-winning Second Concerto for Orchestra (2003), and in Boston and at Carnegie Hall, Bernard Haitink led the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Funeral Music for Queen Mary (1992), an evocative re-orchestration of three 17th-century masterpieces by Henry Purcell.

    Notable world premieres in recent seasons included Symphony (2012) at the Los Angeles Philharmonic; The Stars and the Roses at the Berkeley Symphony; Say Thou Dost Love Me (2012) for a cappella chorus with the New York Virtuoso Singers; Take Him, Earth at the American Choral Directors Association national conference; Rhapsodies (2008) by the New York Philharmonic at London’s BBC Proms; August 4, 1964 (2007-08) by the Dallas Symphony; the Chamber Concerto (2010) by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; and the Piano Quintet (2009-10) at Portland’s Chamber Music Northwest festival. Other past highlights include high-profile repeat performances of Silent Spring (2011), which the Pittsburgh Symphony toured to seven key European cities; Andantino quasi Allegretto (Schubert Dream) by pianists Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2011); the Chamber Concerto (2010) by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra under conductor Roberto Abbado; the “Elegy” from August 4, 1964, which the Dallas Symphony reprised at home and in Germany; and Radical Light (2006-07), which London’s Philharmonia Orchestra revived in Bonn. Stucky’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Second Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2004.

    Chanticleer’s recordings of Mr. Stucky’s Cradle Songs and Whispers, both on Teldec, won Grammy awards in 2000 and 2002, respectively. Released in 2004 were a collection of his chamber music performed by the Cassatt String Quartet and Ensemble X (Albany Records), his Son et lumière by the Albany Symphony (also on Albany Records), and Dreamwaltzes by the Singapore Symphony (BIS Records). To date, six different performances of his Funeral Music for Queen Mary have been commercially released. The year 2007 saw the releases of Sonate en forme de préludes by Deutsche Gramophon as a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center download; a performance by Michala Petri and the Danish National Symphony of his recorder concerto Etudes on Da Capo/OUR Records; and a BIS compilation of major orchestral works including Spirit Voices (with Evelyn Glennie), the Second Concerto for Orchestra, and Pinturas de Tamayo.

    Mr. Stucky’s relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic was the longest such association between an American orchestra and a composer. He was appointed Composer-in-Residence by André Previn in 1988, and was Consulting Composer for New Music – in which capacity he works closely with Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen to enhance contemporary programming, to award commissions, to develop educational programs for school children, and to mentor aspiring pre-college composers under the ground-breaking Composer Fellows Program – for the remainder of his career. Mr. Stucky hosted talks in the LAP’s Green Umbrella series with Marc-André Dalbavie and Leif Ove Andsnes, among others. He was also instrumental in the success of a similar series on the east coast, hosting the New York Philharmonic’s “Hear and Now,” informal public encounters with contemporary composers of works programmed by the Philharmonic.

    An active teacher and mentor to young composers, Stucky served on the Warsaw jury of the Witold Lutoslawski Competition for Composers. His highly-esteemed expertise on the late composer’s music was recognized with the Lutoslawski Society’s medal and an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his critical biography, Lutoslawski and His Music (1981). He was consultant to the Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2013 centennial celebrations of the composer in London.

    As conductor, Stucky frequently led the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and Ensemble X, a contemporary music group he founded in 1997. With the former, he led soloist Michala Petri in the US premiere of his recorder concerto, Etudes (2002), and conducted world and regional premieres of works by many of his contemporaries, such as Donald Crockett, Jacob Druckman, William Kraft, Witold Lutoslawski, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Phibbs, and Judith Weir.

    Stucky was permanently employed as Composer-in-Residence of the Aspen Music Festival and School, having previously held that post in 2001 and 2010, in addition to serving as director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble in 2005. He was appointed as the first Barr Institute Composer Laureate at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Among his other honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Bogliasco Fellowship, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the ASCAP Victor Herbert Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His first Concerto for Orchestra was one of two finalists for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Stucky taught at Cornell University from 1980 to 2014, chairing the Music Department from 1992 to 1997, and then served as Cornell’s Given Foundation Professor of Composition, Emeritus. He was Visiting Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music and Temple University, and Ernest Bloch Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Stucky was a member of the faculty of the Juilliard School from 2014 to 2016.

    Born on November 7, 1949 in Hutchinson, Kansas, Stucky was raised in Kansas and Texas. He studied at Baylor and Cornell Universities with Richard Willis, Robert Palmer, Karel Husa, and Burrill Phillips. Mr. Stucky passed away on February 14, 2016 in Ithaca, New York.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
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    Solo
    140-40098 Album Leaves 140-40098 8:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    144-40511 Dialoghi
    (Studies on a Name)
    144-40511 7:00 Cello Unaccompanied
    144-40552 Isabelle Dances
    For Solo Marimba
    144-40552 15:00 Percussion Unaccompanied
    140-40118 Sonata For Piano 140-40118 :14:00 Solo Piano
    140-40092 Three Little Variations for David
    For Piano
    140-40092 3:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    Chamber Ensemble
    144-40684 Ad Parnassum
    for Chamber Ensemble
    144-40684 :10:00 Chamber Ensemble
    141-40084 Aus Der Jugendzeit 141-40084 :7:00 Chamber Ensemble
    17095 Anniversary Greeting
    for Chamber Ensemble
    17095 2:00 Fl. Cl. Bsn. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl.
    144-40230 Birthday Fanfare
    For Three Trumpets
    144-40230 1:00 Trumpet Ensemble
    15181 Boston Fancies 15181 15:00 Fl.(A.Fl.) Cl.(B.Cl.) Perc. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl.
    144-40650 Cantus
    For Flute/Piccolo, Bb Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Percussion, Piano, Violin, And Cello
    144-40650 :15:00 Chamber Ensemble
    144-40479 Meditation and Dance
    For B-Flat Clarinet and Piano
    144-40479 5:20 Clarinet with Piano
    144-40392 Nell’Ombra, Nella Luce
    For String Quartet
    144-40392 17:00 String Quartet
    144-40164 Notturno 144-40164 11:00 Alto Saxophone with Piano
    144-40422 Partita-Pastorale, after J.S.B. 144-40422 7:00 Chamber Ensemble
    144-40494 Piano Quartet
    For Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano
    144-40494 17:00 Piano Quartet
    144-40547 Piano Quintet
    In Memory Of Robert M. Palmer
    144-40547 17:00 Piano Quintet
    144-40587 Rain Shadow 144-40587 12:00 Piano Quartet
    144-40163 Refrains
    For Five Percussionists
    144-40163 5:00 Percussion Ensemble
    15203 Salute 15203 6:00 Fl. Cl. Hn. Tbn. Perc. Pno. Vln. Vcl.
    144-40196 Serenade 144-40196 Woodwind Quintet
    144-40649 Scherzino
    For Alto Saxophone And Piano
    144-40649 :3:00 Alto Saxophone, Piano
    144-40491 Sonate En Forme De Preludes 144-40491
    144-40433 Tres Pinturas
    for Violin and Piano
    144-40433 11:00 Violin with Piano
    144-40173 Varianti 144-40173 7:00 Flute, Clarinet, Piano
    Choral / Vocal
    342-40183 Buy Baby Ribbon
    3. From “”Cradle Songs”” – for S.A.T.B. Chorus, A Cappella
    342-40183 2:15 SATB
    141-40091 Catalog Aria, From ‘The Classical Style’
    For Tenor And Piano
    141-40091 3:00 Tenor, Piano
    342-40187 Drop, Drop, Slow Tears
    For S.S.A.A.T.T.B.B. Chorus, A Cappella
    342-40187 5:00 Mixed Chorus
    15202 Four Poems of A. R. Ammons
    for Baritone and Six Instruments
    15202 16:00 Fl. Cl. Hn. Vla. Vcl. Cb. Bar.
    342-40198 Gravity’s Dream
    Satb A Cappella
    342-40198 5:00 SATB
    342-40182 Lulajze, Jezuniu
    Cradle Songs, No. 2
    342-40182 3:10 SATB
    141-40090 Me, From ‘The Classical Style’
    For Bass-Baritone And Piano
    141-40090 1:30 Voice with Piano
    342-40181 Rouxinol Do Pico Preto
    1. From “”Cradle Songs””
    342-40181 4:30 Mixed Chorus
    15204 Sappho Fragments
    for Voice and Chamber Ensemble
    15204 12:00 Mezzo Sop. Fl.(Picc.) Cl. Perc. Pno. Vln. Vcl.
    342-40203 Say Thou Dost Love Me 342-40203 5:00
    342-40193 Skylarks 342-40193
    141-40089 The Stars And The Roses
    For Tenor And Ensemble
    141-40089 :13:00 Voice and Instrument
    21753 Take Him, Earth
    for SATB Chorus and 9 Instruments
    21753 13:00 S.A.T.B. Chorus; Fl. Ob. Cl. Hn. Vln.1 Vln.2 Vla. Vcl. Cb.
    342-40202 Take Him, Earth
    In Memoriam John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
    342-40202 13:00 SATB
    342-40195 The Kingdom Of God (In No Strange Land) 342-40195
    342-40196 Three New Motets 342-40196 10:00
    342-40190 To Musick
    For T.T.B.B. Chorus, A Cappella
    342-40190 4:00 Men’s Chorus
    16884 To Whom I Said Farewell
    for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Orchestra
    16884 16:00 Solo Mezzo-sop.; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1(E.H.) 1(E-Fl.Cl., B.CL.) 1(dbl.Cbsn.) – 1 1(dbl.Picc.Tpt.) 1 1 0; 2Perc. Hp. Str.(1.1.1.1.1)
    312-41855 Two Chinese Folk Songs
    1. The Flowing Stream, 2. The Sun Is Rising With Our Joy
    312-41855 5:00 Mixed Chorus
    141-40050 Two Holy Sonnets of Donne
    For Mezzo-Soprano, Oboe, and Piano
    141-40050 12:00 Voice with Instrument
    342-40192 Whispers
    For S.A.T.B. Chorus and S.A.T.B. Semichorus, A Cappella
    342-40192 6:00 Mixed Chorus
    Orchestra
    16973 Allegro Salonenesco 16973 2:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3 3(B.Cl) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    15178 Ancora 15178 6:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    15179 Angelus 15179 12:00 3(Picc./A.Fl.) 4(E.H.) 3(EbCl.) 4(Cbsn.) – 4 4(in C) 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    15180 Anniversary Greeting
    for Orchestra
    15180 2:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 0; 2Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    17385 Chamber Concerto 17385 20:00 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2 – 2 2 0 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    10159 Colburn Variations
    for String Orchestra
    10159 12:00 Str.
    15182 Concerto for Orchestra 15182 28:00 3(2Picc./Alto)3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    15184 Dreamwaltzes
    for Orchestra
    15184 15:00 3(2Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    17347 Elegy
    from “August 4, 1964”
    17347 7:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 2Perc. Hp. Str.
    15188 Escondido Fanfare 15188 2:00 1(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 2 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    15191 Fanfare for Cincinnati 15191 2:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3(B.Tbn.) 1;Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    15192 Fanfare for Los Angeles 15192 2:00 2 2 2(EbCl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Perc. Hp. Str.
    15195 Impromptus 15195 18:00 3 2(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3 – 4 4 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    16885 Jeu de timbres
    for Orchestra
    16885 4:00 3(Picc.) 3 3 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; 2Perc. Pno. 2Hp. Str.
    15196 Kenningar (Symphony No. 4)
    for Orchestra
    15196 21:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3 1; 5Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    16981 Noctuelles
    (Arrangement for Orchestra)(arr.)
    16981 5:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Cel. 2Hp. Str.
    15201 Pinturas de Tamayo 15201 18:00 3(2Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(EbCl. B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3(Picc.) 3 3 1; 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    17087 Radical Light 17087 17:00 3(3dbl. Picc.) 3(3dbl.E.H.) 3(3dbl.B.Cl.) 3(3=Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; 3Perc. Hp. Str.
    17351 Rhapsodies
    for Orchestra
    17351 10:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; 3 Perc. Hp. Str.
    16922 Second Concerto for Orchestra 16922 27:00 3(dbl. Picc., AltoFl.) 3(dbl. E.H.) 3(dbl. B.Cl.) 3(dbl.Cbsn.) – 4 4 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    21651 Silent Spring
    for Orchestra
    21651 18:00 4(Picc., Fl.3 also Picc.1, Fl. 2 also AltoFl.); 3(E.H.) 4(E-flat Cl., B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno.(dbl. Cel.) Hp. Str.
    15205 Son et lumière
    for Orchestra
    15205 9:00 3(2Picc., A.Fl.) 3(E.H.) 4(E-flat Cl., B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno.(dbl. Cel.) Hp. Str.
    21728 Symphony
    for Orchestra
    21728 20:00 4(Picc., 3 dbl. A.Fl) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 4(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno/Cel. Hp. Str.
    15207 Transparent Things: In Memoriam V. N.
    for Orchestra
    15207 9:00 3(2Picc. Alto) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; 3Perc. Pno. Cel. Str.
    Orchestra with Soloist(s)
    10063 American Muse
    for Baritone and Orchestra
    10063 21:00 Solo Bar.; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(both dbl.A Cl., 2 also B.Cl.) 2 – 2 2 1 1; Timp. 3Perc. Hp. Str.
    17143 August 4, 1964
    A Concert Drama
    17143 01:10:00 Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Baritone soli; SATB Chorus; 3(2 dbl. A.Fl., 3 dbl.Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3(dbl.Picc.) 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Str.
    446-41112 Concerto
    For 2 Flutes and Orchestra
    446-41112
    15183 Concerto for 2 Flutes and Orchestra 15183 17:00 2Fl. soli; 0 2(E.H.) 2(EbCl./B.Cl) 2 – 2 2 1 0; Timp. Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    144-40261 Concerto for Two Flutes and Orchestra
    For 2 Flutes and Orchestra
    144-40261 17:00 Flute Duet with Piano
    11314 Concerto Mediterraneo
    for Solo Guitar and Orchestra
    11314 20:00 Solo Guit.; 2 2 2 2 – 2 1 1 0; Timp. 1-2Perc. Hp. Str
    446-41168 Concerto Mediterraneo
    For Solo Guitar and Orchestra
    446-41168 20:00
    15185 Double Concerto
    for Solo Violin, Solo Oboe/Oboe d’amore and Chamber Orchestra
    15185 18:00 Solo Vlo., Solo Oboe d’amore; Pno. Perc. Str. (6 3 2 1)
    446-41064 Double Concerto
    For Solo Violin, Solo Oboe/Oboe D’Amore and Chamber Orchestra
    446-41064
    15189 Etudes
    (Concerto for Recorder and Chamber Orchestra)
    15189 11:00 Solo Recorders; 1(Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; 1 or 2Perc. Pno. String Quartet
    446-41169 Etudes (Concerto Rec/Orch) Sc.
    Concerto for Recorder and Chamber Orchestra
    446-41169 12:00 Chamber Orchestra
    446-41106 Music for Saxophones & Str 446-41106
    15197 Music for Saxophones and Strings 15197 16:00 Solo Sax. Quartet and String Orchestra
    446-41255 Spirit Voices
    Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra
    446-41255 22:00 Orchestra
    16932 Spirit Voices
    Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra
    16932 21:00 Solo Perc.; 3(dbl. 2Picc., dbl.AltoFl.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3(dbl.Picc.) 3 1; Hp. Str.
    141-40088 The Stars And The Roses
    For Tenor And Orchestra
    141-40088 :13:00 Voice with Piano
    446-41304 The Stars And The Roses
    For Tenor And Orchestra
    446-41304 13:00 Voice and Orchestra
    23499 The Stars And The Roses
    For Tenor And Orchestra
    23499 13:00 2 Flutes (2 dbl. Picc.), 2 Oboes (2 dbl. EH), 2 Clarinets in Bb (2 dbl. B.Cl.), 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in C, Trombone, Timpani, 2 Percussion:, I. Tambourine, Glockenspiel, 3 Suspended Cymbals, Marimba (small), Vibraphone (shared), II. Vibrap
    446-41065 Voyages 446-41065
    15210 Voyages
    for Solo Cello and Wind Orchestra
    15210 26:00 Solo Vcl.; 3(2Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 3 1; 3Perc. Pno. Hp. 2-4Cb.
    Opera
    441-41029 The Classical Style
    An Opera (Of Sorts)
    441-41029 1:20:00 Vocal Ensemble
    22169 The Classical Style
    An Opera (of Sorts)
    22169 1:15:00 2(dbl. 2Picc) 2 2 2 – 2 2 1 0; Timp. 1Perc. Hpsh.(dbl. Pno., Cel.) Str.
    Band / Wind Ensemble
    10151 Concerto for Percussion and Wind Orchestra 10151 19:00 Solo Percussion (6 Tomtoms, 2 Bongos, Congas, Timpani, Log, Woodblock, Tenor Steel Drum, Marimba, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Bass Drum, 5 Gongs, 5 Almglocken, 5 Temple Bells, 2 Agogo Bells, 3 Cowbells, 2 Brake Drums, Anvil, Triangle, Spring Coil); 3(3+Picc.
    446-41191 Concerto for Perc. & Wind Orch 446-41191
    446-41103 Fanfares & Arias 446-41103
    15190 Fanfares and Arias 15190 17:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 5(EbCl./B.Cl) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1 2Euph.; 5Perc. Cb.
    15193 Funeral Music for Queen Mary 15193 10:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp.
    446-41104 Funeral Music for Queen Mary
    9X12 Score
    446-41104 Symphonic Band
    445-41002 Hue and Cry
    For Wind Orchestra
    445-41002 5:00 3 Flutes (3rd also Piccolo), 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Clarinets in Bb, Bass Clarinet in Bb, Contrabass Clarinet in Bb, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns in F, 4 Trumpets in C, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Cymbals, Snare Drum, Chimes, Glockenspiel, Marimba
    17389 Hue and Cry
    for Wind Orchestra
    17389 5:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 4(B.Cl., Cb.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4(CTpt.) 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.
    145-40029 Threnos
    For Wind Ensemble
    145-40029 7:00 Concert Band

  • I don’t know of another orchestra so handsomely endowed with the advisory services of a major musical figure so broad-minded in the quality of his musical outlook, so generous in the breadth of his involvement in the contemporary arts.
    –Alan Rich , LA Weekly

    [Stucky’s music is] tinted with half-lights and rich in its middle voices, elegant but rarely showy for showiness’s sake… His music is filled with subtle pleasures and lithe craftsmanship, and is all the more enjoyable in this day and age of in-your-face art for being rather soft-spoken.
    –Timothy Mangan, The Orange County Register

    Steven Stucky’s music, just like that of the great composers who have succeeded in leaving their mark, manages to assert his own personality, to be original without falling into the trap of being hermetic, and succeeds in capturing our imagination with sheer poetry.
    –Guy Sauvé, Passion Musique et Culture

    His music is rigorously orchestrated, representational, and evocative without being obvious about it, and presented in easily digestible chunks.
    –James Manheim, Allmusic.com

    AD PARNUSSUM
    …one of those “contemporary” pieces that appeals to, and even entrances, those who think they rather not hear “contemporary” music.
    –Susan Miron, Boston Music Intelligencer

    Stucky’s mastery of orchestration came to the fore, with instruments emerging and receding like the tiny colored squares in the Klee [painting of the same name]… this reviewer was dying to hear it again…
    –Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice

    Stucky attempts to put into sound his response to Klee’s painting [‘Gradus ad parnassum’]…[He has] successfully illustrated musically the conflict of areas of tension and relaxation inherent in Klee’s painting.
    –Scott Morrison, Amazon.com

    ALBUM LEAVES
    “Album Leaves” is a somber, autumnal work. Its creepy, dissonant score provided a number of virtuoso runs for the pianist.
    –James C. Taylor, Los Angeles Times

    …a set of attractive miniatures…
    –Alan Rich, LA Weekly

    …consistently inventive…muscular yet lyrical…
    –Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

    …contemplative and gently sonorous…individual tones hover in the air as they move slowly upwards – or rapid, perpetual motion flurries that, although fast, don’t extend to frenzy. …playful accentuation…
    –Robert Schulslaper, Fanfare

    “Sereno, Luminoso” is a baleful nocturne: contemplative, gorgeously unsettled, a quite cri de coeur sung to nobody.
    –Daniel Felsenfeld, Fanfare

    AMERICAN MUSE
    He takes four American poems… and transfigures [them] up one level into suave, gracefully persuasive lyric lines… Never merely a supporting accompaniment, Stucky’s orchestra becomes a participant, a panorama of color onto which the words may dance. It is Stucky’s gift to carry it off with fresh surprise and delight at every twist.
    –Alan Rich , LA Weekly

    Stucky writes in his program note that he had wanted to address the nature of ‘American-ness’ but quickly found out it can’t be done in 20 minutes. He is wrong. It can be done, and he has done it. American Muse gets under the skin almost immediately.
    –Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

    AUGUST 4, 1964
    In Stucky’s piece, formidable vocal and instrumental resources are marshaled to evoke, in a virtuosically eclectic style, the passions and flaws of a monumental figure.
    –Alex Ross, The New Yorker

    Stucky has a remarkable ability to write vocal lines that are clear and understandable, reducing the need to libretto-gaze along the way. Musically no one should have any trouble with this…
    –Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

    Not since the golden age of Handel oratorios has something like “August 4, 1964” been so touching and well crafted… The mix between the Civil Rights and Vietnam War was just right – kudos for the balanced libretto from Gene Scheer, and for Stucky’s expressive score. … The work is about 70 minutes, and I could have easily heard it again (in fact I’ll go back on Saturday to hear it live again…and almost yelled Da Capo or Encore! during the standing ovation)… What a wonderful way to demonstrate the relevance of the events 44 years ago to today, and the revelance of classical music in our society! Truth be told, Stucky’s “August 4, 1964” is deserving to be the only piece on a program… The emotional and musical journey of “August 4, 1964” is satisfying, inspiring and enough to fill this program.
    –John Clare, Sequenza 21

    The music and libretto combine to capture the tragedy of the era, LBJ’s spotty legacy, his human frailties. It is musically effective – moody and frenetic in turns. … Stucky creates music that well-fits the moments portrayed. I found it all tragically moving. … A sad time, a stirring time, and a musical drama that captures both, and the larger-then-life persona of LBJ, himself center stage, the central tragic figure of the action that day. …it deserves your serious attention.
    –Grego Applegate Edwards, classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.com

    BOSTON FANCIES
    … there’s always the chance of hearing something that will survive the lifetime of its composer… “Boston Fancies” by Steven Stucky may be one of those special works… clear structure of the alternating sections… a marvelous migration of instrumental highlighting… what is so impressive about Stucky’s achievement is that the declaration of immediately obvious structure allows him to delight the listener with breathtaking transitional passages between sections.
    –Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice

    …the work of a skilled craftsman, master of musical expression through getting the right notes in the right places and — in the matter of the “Boston Fancies” in particular — leaving notes out when they weren’t required. These [Boston Fancies, Dialoghi, Piano Quartet] are spare, utterly charming pieces…
    –Alan Rich, LA Weekly

    …smooth angularity, piquant dissonance and nervous rumblings, not a wasted note … fascinating…
    –Timothy Mangan, The Orange County Register

    The music percolates, stops to sigh and sometimes gives the musicians the freedom to improvise in aleatoric passages…
    –Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer

    …Witty, somber, flirtatious and athletic in turn, “Boston Fancies” have a welcome sense of kinetic momentum, as well as an intellectually coherent structure.
    –John Henken, Los Angeles Times

    …filled with an ear for instrumental color and a knack for sustaining a listener’s interest that are the marks of an interesting composer.
    –Stephen Wigler, Baltimore Sun

    CANTUS
    …a gorgeous glorification of melody… Stucky is a masterful colourist who exploits his sextet of players to paint with an orchestrally rich palette of sonorities … Along the way, miniature dramas play out briefly in the form of exquisitely choreographed duets.
    –Thomas May, Bachtrack

    CHAMBER CONCERTO
    Though a professor of composition at Cornell University, Stucky is no mere academic scribbler. His “Chamber Concerto” is lyrical, colorful, atmospheric and, in its dark Largo section, gripping; it also manages to evade the self-congratulatory quality that bedevils scores written to exhibit the virtuosity of their players. Which is not to say that the orchestra, under Abbado’s tension-sustaining baton, was anything less than brilliant.
    –Larry Fuchsberg, Minneapolis Star Tribune

    …the radiant orchestral sound and color most impressed in this formally adventurous concerto.
    –Mark DeVoto, Boston Music Intelligencer

    CONCERTO FOR PERCUSSION AND WIND ORCHESTRA
    …a superbly crafted work that also hits on a visceral level.
    –Holly Harris, Winnipeg Free Press

    CONCERTO FOR TWO FLUTES AND ORCHESTRA
    …remarkable for elegant writing and a serious but altogether entertaining manner. There is something appealingly immediate about those two flutes out front, plaintively echoing each other in the first movement, ‘Elegy’ (for Lutoslawski); chasing each other around and flirting with the orchestra in the second movement, ‘Games,’ and splashing bright spots of color onto the somber, slow-moving canvas of the theme in ‘Hymn.’ The orchestra part is colorful… strongly outlined, purposeful.
    –Timothy Mangan, Los Angeles Times

    CONCERTO MEDITERRANEO
    The 20-minute, four-movement piece rarely raises its voice above an inviting, relaxed mezzo forte. Modernist techniques in the score blend with the often lovely guitar lines and soft-edged support from the orchestra… exquisite phrases… delicate and fragile touches… It’s a work well worth hearing again.
    –Pierre Ruhe, Washington Post

    CRADLE SONGS
    “Cradle Songs” is a trio of lullabies set to verses by poets from Brazil, Poland and Tobago that allow a cappella singers to revel in subtle and radiant shifts in harmony, theme and rhythmic figure.
    –Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer

    DIALOGHI
    …it seems to lie beautifully on the instrument. Cellists everywhere should take it up.
    –Timothy Mangan, The Orange County Register

    “Dialoghi” exhibits many of the characteristic qualities of Stucky’s work: clarity, craftsmanship, and a strongly melodic sense that tends often to the lyrical.
    –Brian Schuth, The Boston Music Intelligencer

    DOUBLE CONCERTO
    Stucky’s “Double Concerto” stands for the music of the 1980’s, writing annealed in the heat of all the influences of the century, emerging as an alloy of the old and new.
    –Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

    Stucky is one of the most gifted and imaginative American composers… [“Double Concerto”] displays Stucky’s feeling not just for instrumental tone, but for instrumental character. It has moments of arresting intensity, especially in the slow opening Lamento
    –Bernard Jacobson, Philadelphia Forum

    …Stucky’s piece has its own compositional logic (its three movements are separated by cadenzas for each soloist) that traces a satisfying arch. Its orchestra consists only of strings, percussion, and piano, yet the composer is able to extract a wide color range and full sonority from these deliberately restricted resources.
    –Robert Carl , Fanfare

    DREAMWALTZES
    “Dreamwaltzes” is both stylish and substantial, a neatly shaped 15-minute work whose dynamic energy is considerable and whose orchestration is consistently well-crafted.
    –James Wierzbicki, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    …a clever, affectionate collage that puts some old stylistic skeletons through provocative new paces. “Dreamwaltzes” left little doubt that past-tense creativity, when applied with craft and imagination, can be amusing as well as engaging.
    –Martin Bernheimer, Los Angeles Times

    With fuzzy, reverberant and tonally ambiguous music punctuated fleeting snippets of waltzes by Johannes Brahms and Richard Strauss. …The waltzes build in fragments until a full, if brief statement arrives and immediately dissolves – the easy flow belying the difficulty that Mr. Stucky masters so brilliantly. … “Dreamwaltzes” is not about recalling Strauss or Brahms in their time, but how Mr. Stucky, and perhaps the audience, interacts with this music today.
    –Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    …enormously appealing… The orchestra explored Stucky’s dreamy soundscape with wit, conviction and skill, and the piece’s climax-conflicting waltz strains crashing against one another like waves against the shore was a highlight of the evening.
    –Anne Timberlake, Richmond Times Dispatch

    …Stucky, with his feeling for big gestures and love of timbral variety, is at his best – or at least at his most free – when writing for full orchestra…imaginative, affecting
    –Mark Lehman, American Record Guide

    ETUDES
    A phenomenal recording, wonderful music!
    –Markus Zahnhausen, www.klassik-heute.com

    …sharp, clear and effective, with instrumentation which sets off the solo [recorder] perfectly. …a highly viable work, live or recorded, which deserves widest currency.
    –Peter Grahame Woolf, www.musicalpointers.co.uk

    The brief “Etudes” – one for soprano recorder as chirpy as Vivaldi, another full of floating Berio-like sonorities, a third full of rushing scales and jazzy syncopations – are irresistible studies in good cheer.
    –Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

    …colorful orchestration … intriguing…
    –Uncle Dave Lewis, www.allmusic.com

    FUNERAL MUSIC FOR QUEEN MARY
    Mr. Stucky set off Purcell’s music as if in quotation marks, with a sense of distance built in. Sometimes the melody dwindled to a mere outline, like a bald patch in an old tapestry; at other times it withdrew behind a gentle overlay of modern harmonies,
    –Anne Midgette, New York Times

    …”Music for The Funeral of Queen Mary” is compelling and immediately accessible… Haunting sounds begin right away as a flute– bassoon ensemble plays Purcell’s music while piano and timpani toll beneath them. Purcell’s Canzona, a strange work in its own right, is quite weird here. The piece builds inexorably to a smashing close… [Stucky’s] music is enthralling.
    –Kilpatrick, American Record Guide

    Stucky… added violent percussion punctuation to the solemn Baroque lines. He has also blurred some of the essential harmonic formulas – gently yet deliriously. The result, a modernist’s vision of antiquity, beguiles even when it flirts with stylistic perversity.
    –Martin Bernheimer, Los Angeles Times

    Purcell’s “Funeral Music for Queen Mary” arranged by Steven Stucky is dramatic, tense, highly stirring stuff, awesomely beautiful in its simplicity, almost heart-breaking in the intensity of the pleading in the anthems.
    –Glyn Mon Hughes, Daily Post [Liverpool, UK]

    IMPROMPTUS
    …an 18-minute symphonic canvas of engrossing charms and intriguing rhetoric boasting haunting solo lines and transparent instrumental textures, captured the listener’s attention and held it rapt.
    –Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times

    …Stucky’s “Impromptus” are meticulously crafted, solidly built, artfully shaped miniatures, but I would not want those words to give the wrong impression to classical music neophytes; mostly, they are fun to listen to.
    –James Wierzbicki, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    MUSIC FOR SAXOPHONES AND STRINGS
    An eventful, bold, strongly expressed music that alongside all its modernism preserves a certain cantabile quality, and which in the mixture of string amid wind timbres affords fascinating and surprising colors… Stucky has composed an intense, highly concentrated work, never letting up for a moment… What lingers in the memory of this evening is the first performance of Music, for which the composer and the city of Lörrach can only be congratulated.
    –Nikolaus Cybinski, Badische Zeitung

    The beginning of the composition seemed to threaten an experimental sound-world. Gradually, though, tones and sounds belonging stylistically to our ‘postmodern’ age began to sort themselves out. Rhetorical devices of the past and the present are available, hardly anything is off-limits – except, perhaps, extremes. Thus at the end of the work Stucky could confidently use his sense of audience-effective closing gestures. This concluding portion… produced what could be called a popular success. This portion was even repeated right away as an encore.
    –Helga Craubner, Oberbadische Volksblatt

    …picturesque and dramatic … truly a virtuoso work with plenty for the players as well as the audience to pay attention to.
    –Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition

    …extreme dynamics and exploration of sonorities … pleasing … a work of concentration and character…
    –Dan Morgan, Music Web-International

    NELL’OMBRA, NELLA LUCE (IN SHADOW, IN LIGHT)
    “Nell’ombra, Nella Luce (In Shadow, In Light)” is a significant addition to the repertoire… As the title’s visual metaphor suggests, it is concerned with the contrast between darkness and light. The composer uses the full palette available, from basics such as high and low notes to less common techniques, including harmonics and sul ponticello… But unlike most color-study pieces of music, Stucky’s new quartet satisfies the listener with an inner coherence undoubtedly strengthened by his close study of the music of the late Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski.
    –Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

    This was a piece with far more light than shadow in it and great arcs of tensely radiant harmony, beautifully imagined for the medium.
    –Paul Griffiths, New York Times

    “Nell’ombra, Nella Luce” is unevenly segmented, making it an exciting intellectual experience, and pins brilliant colors against darker, personal ones… Stucky’s work is raw art, not art motivated by narrative. What’s more, it is convincing. Hearing Stucky’s quartet, I don’t miss melody. I am drawn to the colors, to the buzzing, insect-like ponticellos (achieved by bowing very close to the instrument’s bridge). I wonder what this piece is about when I am done listening to it. It works.
    –Adam Baer, The New Republic Online

    …exploits contrasts of bright, forceful gestures…with darker, more subdued music. …softly sighing dissonances, quiet low pedal points…sensuousness, variety, and intuitive sense of formal progression.
    –Mark Lehman , American Record Guide

    …immediately arresting … fascinating play of light and shadow…
    –Karsten Blüthgen, Sächsische Zeitung

    The highlight [of the concert] turned out to be the most contemporary work — Steven Stucky’s “Nell’ombra, nella luce (In Shadow, in Light).” …the title only hints at the shimmering beauties, intriguing glints of light in different realms of darkness and the astonishing transformation of each as the piece raises darkness into the heights at the end.
    –Chris Pasles, Los Angeles Times

    PIANO QUARTET
    In the “Piano Quartet,” two kinds of light coexist. The piano rings like a bright midday bell. The strings convey a softer luminescence, say the fadin gsun of a Tuscan summer evening… The score proceeds with ease. Lovely sonorities and great sheaves of lyrical lushness invite the ear in.
    –Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

    Stucky’s angular, percussive and, at times, strangely lyrical quartet brought, for me, the most arresting and galvanic performance from [the Los Angeles Piano Quartet]… Composed in one movement, the piece championed dissonance and flirted with rhythmic patterns, yet proceeded in a linear but never predictable trajectory. Stucky made sure each instrument leaped to the front of the soundstage. A middle passage, all churn and burble, served as an oasis before the music plunged recklessly into jazz slashes for the strings and a driving, engine wheel of sound from the piano. …This was music that perched itself on the edge of a cliff and by turns floated like a feather and crashed to the ground after a dramatic plunge.
    –John Fidler, Reading Eagle

    PINTURAS DE TAMAYO
    …the work of a master orchestrator, an immensely colorful and fascinating work worth repeated listening.
    –Guy Sauvé, , Passion Musique et Culture

    …Stucky’s new work seems less to capture a painting’s narrative qualities, more to translate into purely musical terms the painting’s emotional impact on the viewer. His music is full of the mysteriousness that underlies great art: wonderful swirls of dark, nocturnal sounds, of bright lights seen from afar… Hearing the new work, which runs a substantial 18 minutes, inspires a proclamation that needs frequent reiteration: that a composer’s chosen language – whether bang-on-a-can or tea-with-Grandma – is less important than what is said. Pinturas has a lot to say.
    –Alan Rich , LA Weekly

    The lush sonorities of “Pinturas,” inspired by five paintings by 20th century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, fell easily on the ear… Pinturas is that rare achievement, a piece of programmatic music that is neither too abstract nor too literal… The audience paid Stucky the ultimate compliment…
    –Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun Times

    RADICAL LIGHT
    …brilliant orchestral exercise of great timbre refinement and subtle effects, written very well.
    –Javier Perez Senz, ELPAIS.com

    … the content of the piece is highly original, with a real sense of development from start to finish.
    –Hugo Shirley, MusicalCriticism.com

    …Radical Light has something of the mood and texture of both Sibelius’ Fourth and Seventh symphonies.
    –Simon Thomas, musicOMH.com

    …conjured up glowing, teeming sounds.
    –Erica Jeal, Guardian Unlimited

    The music is shimmering and imaginative, punctuated with rhythmic figures as points of reference; here is a piece of music that makes one wish to know more about this composer.
    –Philippe Herlin, ConcertoNet.com

    Steven Stucky’s music, with its broad, elegant bursts of sound, is very pleasurable to listen to.
    –Paris-Broadway (blog)

    Radical Light unfolds in a single span that encompasses a wealth of moods and orchestral colors… What proved most striking here was the composer’s command of harmony, and particularly the way the piece moves deftly in and out of the world of traditional tonality.
    –Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

    … a conscious response to Sibelius in its raw power and unified flow.
    –Neil Fisher, UK Times Online

    RAIN SHADOW
    When it rains, it can pour applause. … And that was what the audience gave “Rain Shadow” by composer Steven Stucky…[at] the world premier Aug. 22 at the Angel Fire Community Center. … With a soft opening and a finish as dynamic as its inspiration, “Rain Shadow” enveloped audience members’ ears in a four-layered composition. Each of the four movements was based on an individual piece of [Andy] Goldsworthy’s [art] work.
    –Eric Heinz, Sangre de Cristo Chronicle

    …it was quite an occasion. The work lived up to its outsize ambitions… Mr. Scheer created a tapestry of overlapping streams of consciousness, and Mr. Stucky responded with a varied, colorful and mercurial score. … Mr. Stucky has assimilated it all in a distinctive voice that speaks as compellingly and vividly to our time as it might have to Johnson’s.
    –James R. Oestreich, The New York Times

    …moments of great beauty. But librettist Gene Scheer’s interweaving of historical texts…picks at two scabs on our national psyche: the Vietnam War and our still unsettled attitudes toward race. … Dr. Stucky’s vocal writing is apt and natural. … Stucky has a virtuoso command of the orchestra, from stark passages for solo strings and lulling undulations of winds to brassy, percussive eruptions. And the chorus is much more versatile than in most oratorios. …powerful…
    –Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News

    RHAPSODIES
    …an urbane, immaculately crafted piece, lyrical in places and tonally well-organised, in which ideas introduced by one instrument gradually percolated through the ranks.
    –Richard Morrison, The Times Online

    …a well-ordered study in iridescent colours.
    –Geoffrey Norris,, Telegraph.co.uk

    …melodic and emotional… The orchestration, for vast forces but no timpani, is striking…
    –Tim Ashley , Guardian.co.uk

    Throughout this urgent, sometimes dizzying and continually surprising piece, there is an orchestral background of calmer sustained harmonies and undulant riffs. But the calmness is deceptive. Things are always stirring. … Public television broadcast the gala opening concert on “Live From Lincoln Center,” but [this] far more exciting program should have been the choice for broadcast.
    –Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

    …mesmerizing … a curtain-raiser that plays ingeniously with aural depths of field.
    –Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe

    SAPPHO FRAGMENTS
    …a poetic score that was resplendent with musical imagery, Stucky doing his rich text justice by inventive orchestration. This was a work that exhibited the very best in the trend toward the `new romanticism.’
    –Steven Block , Market Square (Pittsburgh)

    SECOND CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA
    …explores the sonic capacities of the orchestra with bracing imagination and sizzling energy.
    –Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

    …a treat… Steven Stucky…was fully introduced to the Proms in such fine style…this exhilarating movement [first movement: “Overture (with friends)”, with woodwind swirls and brass fanfares, a complete contrast to the opening of the second movement’s set of Variations… [In the finale] we are returned headlong into fast-moving, rhythmic music that brings the work to its glittering close… there could be no doubting the conviction of the performance or the quality of the score. It makes me want to hear Stucky’s “First Concerto for Orchestra.”
    –Nick Breckenfield, classicalsource.com

    …immediately expressive music, but at the same time rigorous, complex, based on rhythmic patterns and harmonies organized with crystal-clear musical logic, and characterized by great timbral imagination and by an absolute mastery of orchestral writing. …The brilliance of the instrumentation, the ability to weave together very fast passages and atmospheric areas, are delivered very vividly…
    –Gianluigi Mattietti, Rivista Musica (about BIS CD-1622)

    …attractive features which make it pleasing to listen to.
    –Guy Sauvé, Passion Musique et Culture

    A colorful, delight-bringing score, it has the feel of music we know well lovingly replanted to charm new surroundings…a perfect fit for an orchestra, conductor and audience. It is music expertly designed to show off the Philharmonic, Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Disney acoustic at their dazzling best.
    –Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

    …a sunburst of a work… It was a perfect sound-image of that city, that venue [Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall]— and with plenty of nods to European friends…
    –Hilary Finch, Times On-Line (London)

    Stucky’s piece was the biggest hit with the audience, which roared its approval… The second-movement variations brought the strongest music, intriguing in design and continuously alluring and surprising…
    –Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

    Unquestionably the most immediate knockout of the series was…Steven Stucky’s “Second Concerto for Orchestra” (2004), an electrifying display of orchestral fireworks that won the Pulitzer Prize this year. …all sections [are kept] busy creating textures that shimmer, sizzle and seduce. And that’s just its surface charm; Mr. Stucky uses all this, along with a rich lyricism, in the service of an imaginative structure with a set of wide-ranging variations at the center and no padding whatsoever.
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

    …a distinguished addition to [his list of works created for the Los Angeles Philharmonic]. …a fascinating amalgam: color, rhythm, propulsion … bright solo instrumental writing and breath-stopping dark sonorities.
    –Alan Rich, LA Weekly

    SERENADE FOR WIND QUINTET
    …one of the best concerts of the season… My favorite piece in this fascinating concert had to be the Serenade for Wind Quintet, a 1992 piece by Steven Stucky… a sequence of carefully constructed sound studies stretching the traditional bounds of the wind
    –Jeff Rosenfeld, San Francisco Classical Voice

    SILENT SPRING
    …he proves above all to be a refined magician of timbre, to the extent that the notes sometimes seemed merely a necessary vehicle for the application of color.
    –Helmar Dumbs, The Press (Die Presse)

    …sensitivity, color and bold dynamics…
    –Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune

    It is hard enough for a new work to impress an audience, but Steven Stucky’s “Silent Spring” set the tone for the entire concert. …it is a memorial to…environmentalist Rachel Carson’s seminal “Silent Spring.” …Mr. Stucky’s appropriate pessimism here didn’t discourage as much as it engendered a cathartic response to a subject that often numbs the soul. A brilliant, if unsettling, work.
    –Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    …I felt the message of Rachel Carson resonate through this piece. The world premier performance…launched this new work into the lexicon of great modern music. … You feel the emotional impact of a spring without bird songs in a most visceral way.
    –blogs.chatham.edu

    Evoking Caron’s argument for conservation in a musical score is a tall order. But Mr. Stucky…typically draws on a vast timbral palette to create vivid textures. And with the title as a prompt, it is easy to hear what he had in mind in this explosive, shape-shifting 17-minute tone poem.
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

    SKYLARKS
    …whimsical and soaring material…
    –Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer

    SON ET LUMIÈRE
    Stucky writes for the orchestra with great flair and confidence and the piece delivers exactly what the title promises: interesting sounds featuring an enjoyable interplay of light and shade.
    –David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

    …crisp percussion bursts…trading back and forth between sections of melodic figurations…gleaming colors and minimalist pulses. …But Stucky…isn’t just doing minimalism in this piece. It has a wild power about it…Staccato brass fanfares gave way to vaporous textures, gradually vibrating into a slow-build across the orchestra, exquisite and prickly…
    –Richard Scheinin, The San Jose Mercury News

    Stucky…writes music that virtuosically straddles the line between crowd-pleasing allure and intellectual rigor…
    Crisply defined sections, like a brightly colored musical quilt … engaging and endlessly surprising, with a teasing dramatic logic that seems to promise further revelations on repeated listening.

    –Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle


    …the orchestra presented the magical colors, bright surfaces, and shimmery textures of the sound on the stage. The audiences were dazzled by the acoustic twinkling.
    –Song Xuejun , Central Conservatory of Music/en.ccom.edu.cn

    …a great deal of energy, brilliant orchestration and thematic interest.
    –Tim Smith , Baltimore Sun

    Percussion and brass riffs ignite its fiery and episodic nine minutes. Woodwinds and piano rhythms dart here and there, and the snippets of ostinato keep you off balance and stimulate curiosity. Listeners responded enthusiastically to this entertaining maelstrom of a piece.
    –Lesley Valdes, Philadelphia Inquirer

    …this music pulsates with rhythmic energy and revels in the coloristic possibilities of a large orchestra. Son et lumière is a fast-paced, gripping work with considerable substance beneath its coruscating surface.
    –Derrick Henry, Atlanta Journal and Constitution

    Bracing, complex, and entirely engaging… the directness of its expression and the continuous invention of its lines establish an unflagging rapport between composer and listener. Nine minutes long, thick with instrumental activity in all the ensemble’s sections and fraught with tics and twitches, the piece is both tortured and jolly. It amuses and provokes, and the receptive [audience] cheered the composer.
    –Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times

    …a vibrant kaleidoscope of orchestral colors, delicate but not precious. It pays homage to twentieth-century giants of various schools; but Stucky, not yet 40, is clearly his own man, and a figure to watch among contemporary composers.
    –Ellen Finkelstein, Baltimore Daily Record

    “Son et Lumière” is named after ‘a kind of show staged for tourists at historical sites or famous buildings,’ to quote the composer, who in this brilliant and colorful overture of a piece achieves much of the same kind of dazzlement. Scored for large orchestra, the music is full of repetitive figures that flicker like flames or like reflections on water, of sonorous chords and unisons that radiate strong single beams of color, and of urgent rhythms and driving melodies that propel the work through two large phases of growth and change towards its extraordinary close, where the strings climb and climb.
    –Paul Griffiths, newmusicnow.org

    Steven Stucky’s “Son et Lumière” is over before you know it, a nine-minute whoosh of shimmery textures and shrewd coloration. You leave it wishing for more…
    –Scott Duncan, Baltimore Evening Sun

    Stucky has devised an engaging framework of animated ostinati and related constructions wherein he skillfully exploits the orchestra’s timbral resources to satisfyingly dramatic effect. Much of the drama is derived from the sheer elegance of the orchestration… a multitude of voices in divided strings that melt down into a single tone or a solo bass clarinet arising sinuously from a tenebrous drone. Stucky… not surprisingly renders such moments of coloristic gratification with polished expertise.
    –Carlos Rodriguez, LA Weekly

    “Son et Lumière” is short and intriguing. It begins with an almost transparent veneer of string sound that is punctuated by jazzy percussion and brass riffs. The piece uses ostinato figures somewhat in the minimalist manner but is endowed with a richer sense of melody and playfulness. Son et Lumière lasts less than nine minutes, but its unflagging invention made one want to hear more of Stucky’s music.
    –Stephen Wigler, Baltimore Sun

    …though only nine minutes long, draws expansively on an orchestra’s resources… The [NY] Philharmonic gave this vibrant, changeable piece an exhilarating reading…
    –Allan Kozinn, New York Times

    …a deeply felt elegy…
    –Holly Harris, Winnipeg Free Press

    SONATE EN FORME DE PRÉLUDES
    …[an] attractive piece, whose final bright-white blasts from the brass section seemed to work some sort of magic on the audience…
    –Gordon Sparber, Columbia Flier

    SPIRIT VOICES
    “Spirit Voices” takes advantage of [Evelyn Glennie’s] musical skills and undeniable stage presence… it does so with beautifully focused musical means… This is highly charged, dramatic music that ebbs and flows in pace and dynamics.
    –Harvey Steiman, The Aspen Times

    The work…is not traditionally structured. It’s as if you have to be able to maintain at any one moment a consciousness of what has been and an awareness of what’s to come for this piece to work, as it certainly did for me…the orchestral score is as glittering, delicate, and substantial as the soloist’s.
    –Gil French , Tempo

    SYMPHONY
    …colorfully orchestrated… Mr. Stucky has long written in an intricate, pungent yet transparent and, in the best sense, accessible musical language, as in this symphony.
    –Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

    …the sensation of illumination, to suggest light through exquisitely applied color. … No note felt wasted. To hear Stucky’s Symphony once was to want to hear it again.
    –Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

    …cogent and eloquent… He is a musical essayist who connects the dots, laying his thoughts before the listener in clear sentences, paragraphs and periods. … The “Symphony”…glows and blazes through its four movements seamlessly, its colors dovetailing (it is splendidly orchestrated), its thoughts sophisticated and coherent. Its brass chorale may be one of the most beautiful things in recent music.
    –Timothy Mangan, Orange County Register

    THE CLASSICAL SYLE: AN OPERA (OF SORTS)
    …madcap, hilarious and touching … it’s a delight to hear this remarkable collage of stylistic allusions, references, outright quotes, and the means of getting from one ‘memory’ to another … Stucky’s command of instrumental and vocal color is equally striking. … “The Classical Style” holds its own as sheer entertainment.
    –Elliot Schwartz, Classical Source

    Mr Stucky’s music is subtle, sly and vividly colorful.
    –Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

    It’s a giddy, over-the-top comedy that lovingly satirizes Rosen, his book, and pretty much every ludicrous aspect of classical music as it now exists.
    –Jennifer Melick, Opera News

    …a real hoot … a most entertaining and informative postmodern self-referential opera.
    –James Roy MacBean, Berkeley Daily Planet

    …side-splitting … “The Classical Style” took the [Ojai] festival by storm…
    –Ian Holubiak, classicalite.com

    [Stucky] subtly interweaves quotes of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven with made-up classical riffs and elements of Stucky’s own music, adeptly moving us not only back and forth through history but also through reality and fantasy. There are musical jokes aplenty, some intended for a general audience, wonkier ones setting traps for [conductor Robert] Spano.
    –Mark Swed, LA Times

    THREE LITTLE VARIATIONS FOR DAVID
    …humorous and cleverly wrought…characterized by splashes of color, a fine sense of sonority and line…
    –Robert Schulslaper, Fanfare

    THRENOS
    …a narrative of eclectic and sonorous vibrancy.
    –Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer

    TO WHOM I SAID FAREWELL
    Solemn, melodically graceful pieces, these are Stucky’s best kind of music…
    –Alan Rich, LA Weekly

    The beginning of the poem “Consignee” burst with the power of a soliloquy from a Britten opera. The music [in “Songlet”] is rightly somber, but there are brief passages that act as counterpoint to the brooding. The vocal writing was equally sensitive.
    –James C. Taylor, Los Angeles Times

    TRANSPARENT THINGS: IN MEMORIAM V.N.
    …uniquely successful in its blending of strictly composed and aleatory elements in a thoroughly convincing way.
    –Ron Emery, Albany Times Union

    If there are harmonically incompatible sound combinations in “Transparent Things,” they are not of the dodecaphonic and grating variety but, rather, are couched in the most delicate fusions of timbres that invoke in the listener feelings of beauty and well-being… The most striking aspect of Stucky’s piece is its imperceptible melting of sounds from one set of timbres to another, often leaving the ear wondering about what is being heard and always marveling at the sheer delicacy and grace of it. Enthusiastic audience response greeted the composer as he was called to the stage.
    –Elsbet Wayne, Berkshire Eagle

    …a fragile, timeless beauty. The most beautiful piece programmed.
    –Barbara Zuck, Columbus Dispatch

  • Many are the Wonders MANY ARE THE WONDERS
    Harmonia Mundi (HMM905284); June 23, 2017
    Performer(s): ORA conducted by Suzy Digby
    Work(s): O Sacrum Convivium
    American Muse AMERICAN MUSE
    BMOP/Sound (1050); November 1, 2016
    Performer(s): Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor; Sanford Sylvan, baritone
    Work(s): American Muse
    Concerto for Orchestra
    Rhapsodies
    25 X 25: Twenty-Five Premieres for Twenty-Five Years 25 X 25: TWENTY-FIVE PREMIERES FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS
    Soundbrush Records (); October 8, 2013
    Performer(s): New York Virtuoso Singers, conducted by Harold Rosenbaum
    Work(s): Say Thou Dost Love Me
    American Breeze AMERICAN BREEZE
    Albany Records (TROY1369); September 1, 2012
    Performer(s): Musical Arts Woodwind Quintet
    Work(s): Serenade for Wind Quintet
    August 4, 1964 AUGUST 4, 1964
    DSOLive (DSOLive004); June 26, 2012
    Performer(s): Indira Mahajan, soprano; Kristine Jepson, mezzo-soprano; Vale Rideout, tenor; Rodney Gilfry, baritone; Dallas Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Jaap van Zweden
    Work(s): August 4, 1964
    Beyond All Mortal Dreams BEYOND ALL MORTAL DREAMS
    Hyperion Records (CDA67832); July 12, 2011
    Performer(s): Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, Stephen Layton, conductor
    Work(s): Three New Motets
    Pinturas de Tamayo PINTURAS DE TAMAYO
    BIS Records (BIS1622); March 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Lan Shui, conductor
    Work(s): Pinturas de Tamayo
    Second Concerto for Orchestra
    Spirit Voices
    Piano Music of Salonen, Stucky and Lutoslawski PIANO MUSIC OF SALONEN, STUCKY AND LUTOSLAWSKI
    Telarc International (CD 80712); July 22, 2008
    Performer(s): Gloria Cheng, piano
    Work(s): Three Little Variations for David
    David Howard: Clarinet DAVID HOWARD: CLARINET
    Yarlung Records (); June 1, 2008
    Performer(s): David Howard, clarinet, and Joanne Pierce Martin, piano
    Work(s): Meditation and Dance
    Dialoghi DIALOGHI
    Yarlung Records (YAR78876DSD); June 1, 2008
    Performer(s): Elinor Frey, cello
    Work(s): Dialoghi
    Movements MOVEMENTS
    Our Recordings (5); May 29, 2007
    Performer(s): Michala Petri, Recorder, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lan Shui
    Work(s): Etudes
    The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center THE CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
    DG Concerts (477-662-7); February 6, 2007
    Performer(s): Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    Work(s): Sonate en forme de préludes
    Orchestra 2001, Vol. 4 ORCHESTRA 2001, VOL. 4
    CRI/New World Records (CD 847); February 1, 2007
    Performer(s): Orchestra 2001, Igor Szwec, violin, Dorothy Freeman, oboe, James Freeman, conductor
    Work(s): Album Leaves
    Eternity ETERNITY
    National Lutheran Church Choir (); September 1, 2006
    Performer(s): National Lutheran Church Choir
    Work(s): Whispers
    In Shadow, in Light IN SHADOW, IN LIGHT
    Albany Records (TROY642); May 25, 2004
    Performer(s): Cassatt String Quartet; Ensemble X, Steven Stucky, conductor, Judith Kellock, soprano
    Work(s): Ad Parnassum
    Boston Fancies
    Nell’ombra, Nella Luce (In Shadow, In Light)
    Sappho Fragments
    Dances of Our Time DANCES OF OUR TIME
    BIS Records (BIS1192); April 27, 2004
    Performer(s): Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Lan Shui, conductor
    Work(s): Dreamwaltzes
    Morton Gould: Symphony No. 2 MORTON GOULD: SYMPHONY NO. 2
    Albany Records (TROY605); February 24, 2004
    Performer(s): Albany Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller conductor
    Work(s): Son et Lumière
    Blue Dawn Into White Heat BLUE DAWN INTO WHITE HEAT
    Innova Records (517); January 1, 1998
    Performer(s): University of Minnesota Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Craig Kirchhoff, conductor.
    Work(s): Funeral Music for Queen Mary
    Music for Wind Ensemble MUSIC FOR WIND ENSEMBLE
    Albany Records (TROY257); September 16, 1997
    Performer(s): Baylor University Wind Ensemble, Michael Haithcock, conductor
    Work(s): Fanfares and Arias
    Voyages
    Horizons HORIZONS
    Towson University ()
    Performer(s): Towson University Chorale, conducted by Paul Rardin
    Work(s): Skylarks

  • 2007: Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
    2006: Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    2005: Pulitzer Prize for Music (“Second Concerto for Orchestra”)
    2003: Bloch Lecturer, University of California at Berkeley
    2002: Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, American Academy of Arts and Letters
    2001: Aaron Copland Fund for American Music recording grant
    1998: Barlow Endowment Commission
    1997: Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, Centro Studi Ligure (Italy)
    1995: Special Commendation, National Association of Composers USA
    1991: Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission
    1989: Finalist, Pulitzer Prize in Music (“Concerto for Orchestra”)
    1986: John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
    1982: ASCAP Deems Taylor Award (for “Lutoslawski and His Music”)
    1978: Composer Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts
    1975: First Prize, American Society of University Composers Competition
    1974: ASCAP Victor Herbert Prize for composition

  • Ad Parnassum
    for Chamber Ensemble
    Allegro Salonenesco
    for Orchestra
    American Muse
    for Baritone and Orchestra
    Ancora
    for Orchestra
    August 4, 1964 (Mvmts. 1-5)
    A Concert Drama for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Chorus, and Orchestra
    August 4, 1964 (Mvmts. 6-12)
    A Concert Drama for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Chorus, and Orchestra
    Chamber Concerto
    Colburn Variations
    for String Orchestra
    Concerto for Percussion and Wind Orchestra
    Concerto for Two Flutes and Orchestra
    Concerto Mediterraneo
    for Guitar and Orchestra
    Double Concerto
    for Solo Violin, Solo Oboe/Oboe d’amore and Chamber Orchestra
    Dreamwaltzes
    for Orchestra
    Etudes
    Concerto for Recorder and Chamber Orchestra
    Fanfares and Arias
    for Orchestra
    Four Poems of A.R. Ammons
    for Baritone and Six Instruments.
    Funeral Music for Queen Mary
    for Orchestra of Winds, Brasses, Percussion, Piano, and Harp
    Impromptus
    for Orchestra
    Jeu de timbres
    for Orchestra
    Kenningar (Symphony No. 4)
    for Large Orchestra
    Music for Saxophone and Strings
    Pinturas de Tamayo
    for Orchestra
    Radical Light
    for Orchestra
    Rhapsodies
    for Orchestra
    Sappho Fragments
    for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Ensemble
    Second Concerto for Orchestra
    Silent Spring
    for Orchestra
    Son et lumière
    for Orchestra
    Spirit Voices
    Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra
    Symphony
    for Orchestra
    Take Him, Earth
    for SATB Chorus and Nine Instruments
    The Classical Style
    An Opera (Of Sorts)
    The Stars and the Roses
    for Tenor and Orchestra
    Transparent Things: In Memoriam V. N.
    for Orchestra

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