In this season of Thanksgiving, we honor the life and music of David Stock, who was a leading composer and champion of contemporary music for more than five decades. Stock passed away much too soon from complications arising from a stroke on November 2, 2015 at the age of 76. With his family, friends, and colleagues, we mourn the loss of his formidable voice with sorrow. We offer this humble remembrance, rejoicing that his bright spirit remains among us, embodied in his music.
David Stock (b. June 3, 1939, Pittsburgh) was Professor Emeritus, Duquesne University, where he conducted the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble. He was a graduate of the Carnegie Institue (now Carnegie-Mellon University) were he met fellow composer and lifelong colleague Tom McKinley. Stock has been Composer‑in‑Residence of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, and is Conductor Laureate of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (PNME), which he founded in 1976. His catalog of works containing over 170 titles includes six symphonies, 13 string quartets, a dozen concerti for various instruments, much chamber solo, and orchestral music, and work for dance, theater, TV and film. Stock served as panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and as a host of Da Capo, a weekly series on WQED‑FM in Pittsburgh. In 1992 he was honored with the Creative Achievement Award for Outstanding Artist by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
David Stock was well known as a mentor to young composers through his roles at PNME and Duquesne in addition to his work as a composer. Always generous with his time giving support and advice to up and coming talent, he remained humble and charmed all who knew him with an intelligence and self-deprecating sense of humor despite his many accomplishments. “His willingness to commission the works of young composers made an indelible mark on the new music world,” said his former student Reza Vali, who received his first commission from Mr. Stock in 1984.
David Stock remained prolific throughout his career including this year, when he completed his Thirteenth String Quartet; Wind Power for Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone and Bassoon; Four of a Kind for Saxophone Quartet; and his Second Chamber Concerto for Trumpet, Two Pianos and Two Percussion.
This December, Louisiana State University will premiere his work Double Take for Alto Saxophone, Percussion and Wind Ensemble featuring saxophonist Griffin Campbell and percussionist Brett Dietz, one of Stock’s former students and longtime friends. The concert will be conducted by Damon Talley and will include a memorial given by Mr. Dietz. David Stock had made plans to attend this important event before his health began to decline.
Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will be releasing an album consisting of three of Stock’s concerti in January 2016. The recording will feature performances by each respective work’s dedicatee, including Concierto Cubano for Violin and String Orchestra (performed by Andres Cardenes), Percussion Concerto (performed by Lisa Pegher), and Oborama (performed by Alex Klein). The recordings are conducted by BMOP’s Music Director, Gil Rose. Further details to be announced.
David Stock’s considerable body of compositions are infused with influences from the ancient past to the most vital present, including Sephardic and Jewish traditions, modern jazz, minimalism, and the full gamut of tonal palettes found in the music of the last century.
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A Little Miracle (2006)
Berlin Radio Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Elizabeth Shammash, Richard Stoltzman, Staphen Burns
Naxos Milken Archive, 8.559422
A Little Miracle, Tekiah, Yerusha, Yizkor
American Accents (2004)
Seattle Symphony/ Gerard Schwarz
Symphony No. 2
Seattle Symphony/ Gerard Schwarz
Plenty of Horn
Dorian Sono Luminus, DSL-92108
Suenos de Sefarad
In Motion: The Percussion Music of David Stock (2011)
LSU Percussion Ensemble/ Brett Dietz, et al
Cat Crisis Records (884501642170)
Breathless, Double Bars, Four Corners, Rosewood Reflections, Shadow Music, Starlight, Strike Swinging, Three Vignettes, U-Turn
Mountain Roads (2001)
Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet
Speaking Extravagantly (2002)
Speaking Extravagantly (String Quartet No. 2), String Quartet No. 3, String Quartet No. 4
String Quartets (2010)
Albany, Alb 1188
String Quartets, Nos. 5-7
Violin Concertos (2009)
Andres Cardenes, Violin; Sinfonia Varsovia/ Ian Hobson
Albany, Troy 1148
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Elizabeth Bloom at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette composed this stirring obituary, showing how beloved Mr. Stock and his music remain in the hearts of so many. David Stock’s works are proudly published by Keiser Classical.