• Steven Stucky (1949-2016)


Steven Stucky (left) giving a short oration in 2013 at the grave of Witold Lutosławski in Warsaw to mark the centenary of the Polish composer’s birth.  Photo: Adrian Thomas


It is with a heavy heart that I write these few words.  I learned just an hour ago that my dear friend and colleague Steven Stucky died yesterday, at his home in Ithaca, NY.  He had been suffering from cancer.  I first came across Steven through his gloriously eloquent Lutosławski and His Music (1981).  His pioneering contribution to Lutosławski studies continued to the end of his life, and one of the highlights of his enthusiasm for Lutosławski’s music was his integral contribution to the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Woven Words in the centenary year of 2013.

In America, Steven was perhaps better known as a composer.  I loved his music and was delighted to be asked to interview him before the BBC Proms performance in 2006 of his Concerto for Orchestra no. 2, which had been awarded the Pulitzer prize the previous year.

Steven was such a support to so many people – colleagues, students, friends and family – and he will be missed sorely by everyone who met him and knew his work.

Like Lutosławski, he loved his whisky.  In fact, he was a connoisseur, and I remember with great fondness a visit that he and our mutual friend Nicholas Reyland paid a few years ago to a whisky warehouse near Borough Market in London, the three of us eyeing the tall stacks of far-too-expensive whisky and dreaming of our next dram together.

Tonight, I will raise a dram of Lagavulin to you, Steven, to thank you for being a born communicator, both in words and notes, but above all for being my friend.  I am bereft at your passing – too, too soon – but grateful for the good years we had here in the U.K., in the U.S.A., Australia and, above all, in Poland.


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