Stucky, Stew and Stout kick off Pub Series at Garth Newel
I have to admit I didn’t really know who Steven Stucky was, but the name of the first concert in the Garth Newel Winter Pub Series drew me to learn more. “Stucky, Stew, and Stout” seems like a wonderful combination, and I as read a little about this musician, I understand exactly why the artistic team at Garth Newel is featuring his work in this pay-what-you-will performance.
He was born in Hutchison, Kansas in 1949, and died in Ithaca, New York in early 2016 at the age of 66.. Steven Stucky went to Baylor University in Texas, and received his doctorate of Musical Arts in composition from Cornell University where he then taught for thirty-four years. He retired and then became a teacher again at the Julliard School. During his lifetime the works he composed were performed in too many symphony orchestras too list here, and the two- where he was a long-term composer in residence- were the Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for over twenty years. His works covered orchestral, band, solo, chamber, vocal and choral music. Stucky received countless commissions, honors, and fellowships including a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for his Second Concerto for Orchestra.
Not only did Stucky leave a legacy of extraordinary musical compositions, he also wrote and spoke extensively on modern classical music helping to understand it better, for those of us who know nothing. In an address he gave at the Florida State New Music Festival over twenty years ago he described how few twentieth-century composers can really be considered contemporary. The last part of the twentieth century apparently has a far different sound than old faithfuls, Strauss, Copeland, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. Stucky said at a pre-concert discussion, regarding his NEW music, he once got asked by an audience member, “Why are you doing this to me?” Then he offered five tips for listening to unfamiliar new music, which seem to me to apply to all genres, styles of art, fashion, maybe even food? that we take in all the time. Those tips are: 1. Don’t expect the wrong things. 2. Be prepared for discontinuity. 3. Don’t try too hard to “understand”. 4. Expect new instruments, new sounds and influences from other cultures, and 5. Give yourself permission to dislike what you hear.
Stucky composed the music for an opera called “The Classical Style” which humorously presents the composers Mozart, Hayden and Beethoven returning to life to lobby for their own relevance to the author of a definitive work on classical music. Here, Mozart sings about the release of the very popular movie Amadeus, and about how even in the afterlife, he deserves the film rights.
The music by Steven Stucky to be played at Garth Newel Music Center on Saturday evening, January 28th is a piano quartet from 2005. You will also hear Departure by Paolo Boggio, Ukelele Serenade by Aaron Copeland and Dream Rags by William Albright. Happy Hour starts a 6:00 and the concert begins at 6:30. The concert is pay-what-you-will, and no reservations are needed. For more information please call 839- 5018, or toll free 877-558-1689, or visit garthnewel.org