2014 Composer Portrait - Nathaniel Stookey
Born: 1970


In partnership with The Walden School, a summer music camp in Dublin, NH, Nathaniel Stookey will be the first NHMF composer-in-residence in a new concert series called Composer Portraits.


First commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony at age 17, Nathaniel Stookey has gone on to collaborate with many of the world's great orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Manchester's venerable Hallé Orchestra, where he was composer-in-residence under Kent Nagano.


Stookey's concerto for two violins and strings, Double, was commissioned to represent the year 1999 in the millennial Festival of 999 Years of Music in Sheffield, England, and has since been released on Albany records. In 2006, the San Francisco Symphony commissioned, premiered, and recorded The Composer Is Dead, a sinister guide to the orchestra with narration by Lemony Snicket.


"Having created a furor in the United States" (Hamburger Abendblatt), the work has since been performed by over 100 orchestras on four continents, and according to BBC commentator Norman Lebrecht, is one of the five most performed classical works of the 21st century, worldwide.


His latest orchestral work, Mahlerwerk, commissioned by NDR-Sinfonie (Hamburg) for the final concert of their centennial Mahler cycle, was premiered under Christoph Eschenbach before an audience of 10,000. The Schleswig-Holsteiner Zeitung describes this "crazy puzzle" as an "intelligent, musically very appealing, even exhilarating homage to Gustav Mahler."


Stookey's most recent work, String Quartet No. 3 'The Mezzanine' — commissioned and premiered by the Kronos Quartet in 2013 — received critical acclaim for its "wealth of puckish inventions, including an offbeat rhythmic groove that morphs into a tenderly sardonic waltz, and a slow hymn whose harmonies grow and expand in surprising directions" (San Francisco Chronicle).

2014 Composer Portait Concerts


Tuesday, July 22, 8 PM
Chamber Concert
Silent Movie and the Composer Lives!

Stookey: String Quartet No. 2, "Musée Mécanique"
Alice Guy-Blache, director; Leslie Amper, pianist


Thursday, July 24, 8 PM
Festival Orchestra
Donato Cabrera, conductor
Stookey: Go!
Milhaud: Concertino d’Hiver, Op. 327
    David Loucky, trombone
Poulenc: Sinfonietta, FP 141
Stookey: The Composer is Dead
    Nathaniel Stookey, composer/narrator


Saturday, July 26, 10 AM
Family Concert
The Composer is Dead



Nathaniel Stookey
Photo: Ole Lütjens

Nathaniel Stookey and Lemony Snicket
discuss The Composer is Dead

(a San Francisco Symphony commission)