Composer Steven Stucky wins 2005 Pulitzer Prize for music; alum shares prize for news coverage

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ITHACA, N.Y. -- Steven Stucky, the Given Foundation Professor of Music at Cornell University, has won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for music for his Second Concerto for Orchestra.

"It came as a complete surprise," said the famously modest Stucky, who reported that he'd forgotten the Pulitzer board announcements were coming out of New York this week. "I am kind of astonished. This is something I'll never have to worry about again."

Stucky, a member of the Cornell music faculty since 1980, has long been considered one of the leading American composers of his generation. He is the second Cornell music faculty member to receive the Pulitzer. In 1969 Karel Husa, professor of music emeritus, received the Pulitzer for his String Quartet No. 3.

Stucky's Second Concerto for Orchestra was premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall on March 12, 2004.

In addition to the Second Concerto, Stucky's recent works include the percussion concerto Spirit Voices, premiered by the Singapore Symphony; Jeu de timbres, premiered by the National Symphony; and To Whom I Said Farewell, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra, premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group.

In 1988 Stucky was chosen by then music director André Previn to serve as composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. When that four-year appointment passed, he had so won the hearts of his Los Angeles Philharmonic colleagues that music director Esa-Pekka Salonen appointed Stucky as the group's new music adviser.

He has received commissions from many of the major American orchestras, including Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia and St. Louis, as well as Chanticleer, the Boston Musica Viva, the Camerata Bern, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, the Howard Hanson Institute of American Music, Carnegie Hall, the BBC, recorder soloist Michala Petri and guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

Stucky is the recipient of many awards, including the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Deems Taylor Prize for his 1981 book Lutoslawski and His Music (Cambridge University Press); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1986); and a Bogliasco Fellowship (1997). He also is visiting professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. Read a recent interview with Stucky, published in the April 21, 2005, Cornell Chronicle.

A Cornell alumnus was among another group of Pulitzer Prize recipients named April 4. The staff of The Star-Ledger (New Jersey) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of former Gov. James McGreevey's August 2004 announcement that he would resign as a result of a gay affair. One of the lead writers on the stories was John Hassell '91, who was a political reporter with the Star-Ledger. He now is the editor of the paper's Perspective op-ed magazine. "It was just a stunning news event," Hassell said. "It was one of these extraordinary stories. In many ways, it was a quintessential New Jersey story, but it was also one of those things you just can't make up."