Nathaniel Stookey: Orchestral Highlights

Nathaniel Stookey: Orchestral Highlights
Carson Ellis, from The Composer is Dead, © HarperCollins
Nathaniel Stookey is the composer of the hour.
Mark Alburger, 21st-Century Music

Throughout his career, Nathaniel Stookey has produced works that are thrillingly immediate, playfully irreverent, and fearlessly iconoclastic. Nothing is off-limits: from a children’s piece about murder (now one of the most performed works of our time) to a no-holds-barred showmance confessional delivered in experimental verse; from a live dance-mix of all nine Mahler symphonies to a channelling of grand utopian visions.

Here is a glimpse into some of Nathaniel Stookey’s recent work for orchestra, each piece wildly different from the next and yet all bearing the hallmarks of this 'highly imaginative and original talent' (AllMusic).

World Premiere Recording of 'ZIPPERZ'
'ZIPPERZ was a huge hit with both our orchestra and our audience. Years later, people still make reference to it as a particularly great evening'.
— Music Director Michael Morgan, Oakland Symphony

The world premiere cast recording of Nathaniel Stookey’s ZIPPERZ, an edgy romantic comedy for two singers and symphony orchestra, is now available from Ghostlight Records.

'Stookey has struck it rich again with a brilliant ZIPPERZ. Dan Harder's "zipper" poems provide the libretto, presenting a love story simultaneously from the perspectives of both lovers, in interlocking lines that yield third meanings when combined. This is perfectly reflected in Stookey's contemporary counterpoint…'
— Mark Alburger, 21st-Century Music

ZIPPERZ: 30 Minutes
Soloists: Female Vocalist, Male Vocalist
Orchestra: 2(pic).2(ca).2(bcl).2(cbn)/4231/timp.2perc/hp/str

Peruse the score | Watch the interview on's Live@5
Purchase on iTunes, Amazon | Stream on Spotify
'Yield To Total Elation'
Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony for its groundbreaking SoundBox series, YTTE (Yield To Total Elation) is a spellbinding 22-minute piece now available for chamber or full orchestra.

'…the biggest success of the night followed, with another SFS commission, Nathaniel Stookey's YTTE (Yield To Total Elation)… The score lives up to its name, cresting and flowing melodically with thrilling immediacy. The visuals added to the exhilarating effect, but YTTE would probably raise goosebumps even in the dark'.
— Philip Campbell, The Bay Area Reporter

The work includes an optional part for OOVE, a kinetic sound sculpture designed by Oliver DiCicco; and can also be enhanced by stunning visuals created by Adam Larsen.

YTTE (Yield To Total Elation): 22 Minutes
Orchestra: 2222/4231/2perc/[opt OOVE]/str
Chamber Orchestra: 1.0.2(bcl).0/0.2(1=offstage).1.0/2perc/[opt OOVE]/str ( players)

Peruse the orchestra score, chamber orchestra score
Mahl/er/werk is a play on the German word 'Mahlwerk,' or grinding machine. Commissioned by NDR/Elbphilharmonie and premiered under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach for the Mahler centennial, the piece was inspired by the post-industrial landscape of the Hamburg docklands. The work is made exclusively of hundreds of fragments from the nine Mahler symphonies — all in their original keys, tempos, and orchestrations — kaleidoscopically reconfigured in a 21st-century context.

'Stookey’s crazy puzzle with over a hundred Mahler fragments turned out to be a highly intelligent and musically attractive, even vibrant homage to Gustav Mahler. The performance in Hamburg Arena was most successful in making classical music attractive to future fans'.
— Michael Stitz, Schleswig-Holstein Newspaper

Mahl/er/werk: 14 minutes
Orchestra: 2+pic.3.3(ebcl).3/4.3.2+btbn.1/timp.3perc/hp/str

Peruse the score
'Le Compositeur est mort'
The French premiere of Nathaniel Stookey's internationally beloved The Composer is Dead will take place on November 4 2017, performed by the Orchestre National de Lyon with Christian Reif conducting. One of the five most-performed classical works of the 21st century, The Composer is Dead features the sinister words of Lemony Snicket, and is now available for performances in English, German, French, and Spanish.

'Stookey's inventive score has episodes in various jazz and classical idioms, including probably the only duet for tuba and harp in the orchestral repertoire… This culminates in a virtuosic weaving together of quotations from the classical music pantheon, mostly famous funeral marches, Requiem Masses and other death-obsessed works… Perhaps the best response to the tiresome trope of the death of classical music'.
— Charles T. Downey, Washington Post

The Composer is Dead: 30 Minutes
Soloists: Narrator/Speaker (Mr. Stookey is available to narrate in English, French, or Spanish)
Orchestra: 2(pic)2(ca)2(bcl)2(cbn)/4231/timp.3perc(Berlioz bells)/hp/str

Peruse the score | Watch the trailer
To request printed perusal scores, or for specific inquiries about Nathaniel Stookey, please contact or call 212-254-2100.

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