David Stock, 1939-2015

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

RIP David Stock, the founder of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, a true Pittsburgher, an eminent composer and a vital advocate for new music.

david-stock 420David Stock at his home studio in 2008. Mr. Stock died Monday morning. (Robin Rombach/Post-Gazette)

Check out this YouTube playlist, which includes some of his chamber music, symphonies and concertos and features the Seattle Symphony, violinist Andres Cardenes, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, PNME flutist Lindsey Goodman and many others. It also includes interviews with Mr. Stock. (A lot of his music is also available on Spotify.)

The tributes to Mr. Stock have been pouring in. They demonstrate what a permanent and important – and that's a true understatement – impact he had on Pittsburgh's music scene, and on the world of new music.

PNME's executive artistic director Kevin Noe sent along the following tribute, which I only briefly quoted in Mr. Stock's obituary, and which captures the composer's qualities — personal, creative and professional — that touched the lives of so many students, listeners and musicians

How can one put into words the incalculable impact David Stock has had on the arts, on his friends, on his family, on Pittsburgh, on all of us? Impossible.

I'll never forget the day the phone rang when I was still a student at Rice and I first encountered his enthusiastic voice: "Hello Kevin. This is David Stock from Pittsburgh. I'm with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and on the search committee for a new Director of Orchestras at Duquesne University. Do you have a minute to talk?"

Nearly everything that I've been able to do in the arts and the life that I've been able to lead has been a direct result of that call and his subsequent influence on my life and thinking. My wife, my friendship circles, my professional circles, the cities I've lived in, the things I've truly loved — almost all of them point to David Stock. I've heard the same thing said by countless people who encountered David at similar moments in their life. Of course the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble would not exist today without him, but his legacy of almost 300 world premieres and commissions so far...(there will be more, many more) and the indelible relationships that PNME has built with its audiences through decades of countless performances is but one of his innumerable contributions to our planet.

You see, David was much more than a creator of music, he was a creator of culture. David was the elder statesman of the arts in Pittsburgh, an unwavering champion of young people, a soul filling teacher, a generous and kind colleague, the very definition of an arts lover, a mentor in the truest sense, an aficionado of the world's great Chinese restaurants, a world traveler, a people person, and an ambassador of music and good will. Perhaps above all, David was most loyal and and friend that ever walked the earth.

His judgment-free way of looking at the world, his unerring support of his friends and family, and his belief in the healing power of music was second to none. If there was a performance of music, anyone's music, anywhere, at any time...somehow David was there. Period. He'd be cheering it on with that inescapable smile of his that went from ear to ear, and he always had time after the performances to stay and talk with the audiences and the performers. David always had time for you. David was one of a kind. David is, without question, irreplaceable.

I'm sure there will be plenty of additional tributes to Mr. Stock occurring in various venues throughout Pittsburgh. Duquesne University's "Schubert on the Bluff" series happens to be featuring his music this season. 

Here are some additional articles about David and his impact on the music community in Pittsburgh and beyond:

From this summer: PNME celebrates 40 years of charting new music territory 

PNME lists top commissions 

From 2013: Symphony superb with Stock and Orff

From 2008: David Stock to retire from Duquesne, not from composing


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