The Music of David Stock

David Stock

I first met David Stock as a freshman at Duquesne University. Ever warm and encouraging of others’ music, he permitted me to sit in on another student’s composition lesson. During that time, he showed interest in what I was writing. As he looked over one of my pieces, he commented, ” I really like the parallel major 2nds in the flute and clarinet.” Needlessly embarrassed, I admitted to him that had forgotten to transpose. He smiled.

David became my first composition teacher, and, together with Tim Beck, I was one of his last students. I owe all of my early professional opportunities to his generosity.

David is a champion of new music. In addition to his own compositional accolades, which include composer-in-residence with the Seattle & Pittsburgh Symphonies, commissions from the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, and more, he founded the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (PNME). In support of other composers, PNME has commissioned or premiered over 200 works since 1976. Through his example, I have dedicated myself to advocating for new music, including his.

This week David Stock is a guest composer at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As the former assistant director of Musica Nova, the University’s new music ensemble, I helped commission a new work from him. As a result, Nova will premiere his Chamber Concerto for Saxophone on May 7 at White Recital Hall.


After posting this, another composer and I will be picking David up from the airport. While in KC, he and I will eat barbecue at Arthur Bryant’s, which has been a lifelong dream of his. I will remind him of the story of the parallel major 2nds and tell him that, now, I do it intentionally. I’m looking forward to catching up with a dear mentor, whom I can now call a friend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: