Steven Stucky, 1949-2016
The music world was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of composer Steven Stucky on February 14, at the much too early age of 66. Stucky, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, was based in Ithaca, New York, where he served on the musical faculty of Cornell University. His music was performed around the world, and there were many Philadelphia connections, including commissions by the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as smaller ensembles, and a residency at Curtis Institute of Music. I had the privilege of making his acquaintance when we both served on a Pew Foundation committee for recordings of new music. I can only share my impressions with others who knew him far better, joining in a unanimous chorus praising his kind, generous nature. There will be countless stories in the days to come of his joyful mentoring of musicians and composers at all levels of accomplishment. Of course, his greatest legacy is his music, which helped to forge a new American style that embraces modernist innovations but presents them in an accessible way. His craft was meticulous and often complex, but it threw out a luminous beauty.