Steven Stucky is widely recognized as one of the leading American composers of his generation. His music is praised for its beauty of sound, imaginative use of color, and clarity of large-scale form, and for its ability to communicate powerfully with a broad concert-going public without sacrificing complexity, artistic integrity, or technical finesse. As influences on his own musical sensibility, Stucky acknowledges several of the great figures of twentieth-century music, chief among them Debussy, Stravinsky, Ravel, Bartók, Lutoslawski, and Ligeti. His music is published by the Theodore Presser Company and is recorded on the Albany, CRI, Teldec, Centaur, Elf, Bis, and Innova labels.
In recent years Mr. Stucky has received commissions from the BBC Proms, Boston Musica Viva, Chanticleer, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Raschèr Quartet, the Pennsylvania Wind Quintet, the Chicago Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Singapore Symphony, and Saint Louis Symphony, and from other ensembles. He has written solo works for such distinguished artists as guitarist Manuel Barrueco, baritone Sanford Sylvan, violinist Martin Chalifour, recorder virtuosa Michala Petri, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie. He has also been commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the College Band Directors National Association, and the Howard Hanson Institute of American Music. In September 1990 his orchestral work Angelus, co-commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, opened Carnegie Hall's Centennial Season celebration.
Abroad, Mr. Stock's music has been performed by the Camerata Bern, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony, London Sinfonietta, Nash Ensemble, Swedish Radio Symphony, Camerata Roman (Sweden), London Symphony, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Queensland Symphony of Brisbane, Irish National Orchestra, Konzertverein Chamber Orchestra of Vienna, and Seoul Philharmonic; in the United States, by the orchestras of Cleveland, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Richmond, Los Angeles, Chicago, Honolulu, Baltimore, Saint Louis, Detroit, Syracuse, Denver, Boston, Dallas, Minnesota, Omaha, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Tucson, San Antonio, Atlanta, Albany, Memphis, Virginia, Long Beach, Columbus, and others. His best-known chamber works include Sappho Fragments (1982), Boston Fancies (1985), Serenade for Wind Quintet (1990), Four Poems of A.R. Ammons (1992), and Ad Parnassum (1998). Among his best-known orchestral works are Transparent Things (1980), Voyages for cello and wind orchestra (1984), Dreamwaltzes (1986), Concerto for Orchestra (1987), Son et lumière (1988), Angelus (1990), Impromptus (1991), Funeral Music for Queen Mary, after Purcell (1992), the Double Flute Concerto (1994), and Pinturas de Tamayo (1995).
In addition to composing, Mr. Stucky is active as a conductor, writer, lecturer, and teacher. He is a frequent guest composer on college campuses throughout the United States. A well-known expert on the music of the late Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, Mr. Stucky won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Prize for his 1981 book Lutoslawski and His Music (Cambridge University Press). Among his other honors are the ASCAP Victor Herbert Prize (1974), first prize from the American Society of University Composers (1975), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978), the American Council of Learned Societies (1979), the National Endowment for the Humanities (1979), the Guggenheim Foundation (1986), the Bogliasco Foundation (1997), and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2002). In 1989 his Concerto for Orchestra was named one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Mr. Stucky was born November 7, 1949, in Hutchinson, Kansas; he grew up in Kansas and Texas. He studied at Baylor and Cornell universities with Richard Willis, Robert Palmer, Karel Husa, and Burrill Phillips. From 1978 to 1980 he taught composition at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Since 1980 he has been on the faculty of Cornell University, where at present he is Given Foundation Professor of Composition and Artistic Director of Ensemble X, a professional chamber ensemble specializing in new music. He has also been Visiting Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music. He has served on the boards of the Society for New Music, the MacDowell Colony, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. He was chairman of the Cornell Music Department from 1992 to 1997. Since 1988 he has been associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, first as Composer-in- Residence for four years, then as New Music Advisor, and now as Consulting Composer for New Music.