Nathaniel Stookey: from youth orchestra violinist to adult composer

Posted on: December 20, 2017

“When the composer Nathaniel Stookey was a young violinist in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, a centerpiece of every year was the orchestra’s annual holiday performance of ‘Peter and the Wolf,’ ” writes Joshua Kosman in Wednesday’s (12/20) San Francisco Chronicle. “ ‘It’s an important part of the Youth Orchestra culture, because it’s the only piece that gets done over and over again,’ says Stookey, 47. ‘It has a special place for Youth Orchestra players.…’ The roots of that experience blossomed decades later, in 2006, when Stookey was commissioned to collaborate with his high-school chum Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) to create a new kid-friendly work along similar lines. The result was ‘The Composer is Dead,’ a mordant and highly entertaining musical murder mystery that has since become a staple of holiday concerts around the country. For the Dec. 23 performance of the piece by Donato Cabrera and the California Symphony, another childhood friend was tapped as narrator, the actor Manoel Felciano. Stookey and Felciano—who’s featured on the recent world premiere recording of Stookey’s piece ‘Zipperz’—used to perform violin duets together as childhood buskers on the streets of San Francisco.”

Posted December 20, 2017