Archive for July 6th, 2012

Summer Festival Spotlight: Steven Stucky

Guest composers play an important part at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, teaching and mentoring the resident composers, and we are most fortunate to have Steven Stucky as one of our guest composers for the 2012 MNMSF.

Called by BMI “a towering figure in contemporary classical music,” Stucky (pictured) perhaps is best known for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, which was commissioned and premiered in 2004 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2005. He is a professor of music at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1980, and also maintains a busy schedule as a conductor, writer and lecturer.

For more than 20 years, Stucky enjoyed the longest relationship on record between a composer and an American orchestra, serving as Composer-in-Residence and Consulting Composer for New Music for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He also has written commissioned pieces for many other American orchestras, as well as for many other ensembles and for soloists including pianist Emanuel Ax, baritone Sanford Sylvan, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and cellist Elinor Frey.

Stucky also was co-artistic director, conductor, and one of the co-founders of Ensemble X, a new music group of Cornell and Ithaca College faculty members that performed from 1997 to 2006.

More recently, in February 2012 his orchestral work Silent Spring received both its world and New York premieres by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he currently serves as Composer of the Year. Later this year, Stucky’s Son et lumière will be performed by both the New York Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

You can view some scores of Stucky’s music at the website of his publisher, the Theodor Presser Company. The embedded video windows below feature three recent performances of Stucky compositions for small ensembles, followed by a pre-concert talk that Stucky gave earlier this year before the premiere of Silent Spring.

The LA Piano Quartet (Xak Bjerken, piano; Yehonatan Berick, violin; Katherine Murdock, viola; and Steven Doane, cello) performs Steven Stucky’s Piano Quartet:

Trio América (Penélope Quesada, flute; Kevin Ames, saxophone; and
Liz Ames, piano) performs Stucky’s composition Varianti:

A student percussion ensemble plays Stucky’s piece Refrains:

Steven Stucky speaks before the world premiere of Silent Spring: