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Announcing the Steven Stucky Memorial Residency for New Music

StevenStucky_hedshotThe recent loss of our dear friend Steven Stucky has been difficult for all of us in Cornell’s musical community, as in all of the many communities of composers, students, scholars, and performers he touched.  Steve was a warm and generous colleague, as well as an inspiring mentor

He possessed a unique combination of enormous creative gifts as a composer, a seemingly boundless knowledge of repertoire, top-notch scholarly skills, and the ability to gently guide his students towards realizing their own compositional voices and to continue to advocate for them years after they had graduated. It’s difficult to overstate what he gave to Cornell’s Department of Music and to our lives as his friends.

Steve believed strongly in encouraging new music and often campaigned to expose his composition students, and our performing students, to the finest musicians possible.  He knew that working out compositional ideas with the world’s foremost players would propel our graduate students to their highest musical goals, and that exposure to these musicians would teach and inspire our fine undergraduate and graduate musicians-in-training.

To honor his legacy, we have set the goal of realizing an idea that Steve spent years advocating: to endow an annual resident ensemble on campus that will perform new student works and will exchange ideas with composers and performers in workshops and masterclasses.  This residency will bring national prominence to new music composition and performance on campus.  The residency will ensure that we continue to recruit the best graduate students from around the world.

Our goal over the next year is to raise $200,000 to create an endowment which will fund the Steven Stucky Memorial Residency for New Music.

We hope that you will consider making a contribution to this fund, honoring Steve’s generosity with your own, and securing his legacy at Cornell University and beyond.  Donations may be made online, or by check, payable to “Cornell University” (Memo: Steven Stucky Endowment) to: Cornell University, PO Box 25842, Lehigh Valley, PA 18003-9692.


Steven Stucky Memorial Residency for New Music

The Steven Stucky Memorial Residency for New Music is envisaged as a way to bring an internationally-renowned chamber ensemble to Cornell one or two times a year, to perform new music by Cornell composers, to coach Cornell student musicians, and to collaborate with Cornell faculty on programs highlighting art music of the 20th and 21st centuries.  The ensemble will initiate and participate in:

  • Workshops and performances of graduate student compositions.
  • Performances of curated programs that highlight new or recent music.
  • Coaching sessions for student chamber groups.
  • Lectures and presentations on specific repertoire for which the group is known, open to all members of the Cornell and Ithaca communities.
  • Accommodations in the student dormitories on North Campus to provide additional opportunities for enriching the arts on campus.

The Ensemble-in-Residence will be appointed annually, and stay for at least four days each visit, with the possibility of being asked back for a second year. The rotating nature of the appointment will allow different kinds of instrumental groups to be brought to Cornell, offering an important variety of compositional opportunities for student composers. The Ensemble will be chosen each year by a committee consisting of the Department of Music’s composition faculty, faculty performers, and the department chair.

Ithaca’s sylvan location, distant from major urban centers, makes the residency all the more important. Following the views of Cornell’s first president, A.D. White, attracting non-resident, important artists will enable our composition students’ “views to be enlarged, their efforts stimulated, their whole life quickened.“ Peer music departments offer residencies of their own, including Princeton (Brentano String Quartet), MIT (Lontano Ensemble), Harvard (ICE), Stanford (St. Lawrence String Quartet), and University of Chicago (Pacifica and Spektral Quartets).

The Steven Stucky Memorial Residency for New Music will reinforce the national and international profile of our composition program, and will be an important factor in continuing to attract the best graduate student composers.

For more information, please contact Christopher Riley, Department Manager, at cjr20@cornell.edu.