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American composer Steven Stucky was born in Kansas on 7 November 1949 and studied music at school in Texas, and also privately with Herbert Preston (viola), Leo Scheer (conducting) and Macon Sumerlin (composition). He later studied at Baylor University and Cornell. His main composition teachers were Karel Husa, Robert Palmer and Richard Willis.
Stucky had a very long relationship (1988-2009) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra - first as Composer-in-Residence (appointed by André Previn) and then as Consulting Composer for New Music, working with Esa-Pekka Salonen on programming for non-traditional audiences, programming of contemporary music and awarding of commissions. He also had residencies with many other organisations, including the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Taipei National University of the Arts, the American Academy in Rome, June in Buffalo, Lehigh University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Georgia.
He was commissioned by many major American orchestras. His works include Silent Spring, The Classical Style, Radical Light, Rhapsodies for Orchestra, Cradle Songs, Whispers, Sappho Fragments and August 4, 1964. His Second Concerto for Orchestra won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
He was also active as a conductor, writer, lecturer, teacher and an expert on the music of Lutosławsky.
Stucky died from brain cancer on 14 February 2016, aged sixty-six, at his home in Ithaca, New York.