Thomas Stacy, Grasp of the English Horn, Dies at 84

Thomas Stacy, Grasp of the English Horn, Dies at 84

Thomas Stacy typically informed the story of how, when he was a boy rising up in Arkansas, an Italian who had been useless for about 80 years modified his life.

He’d been finding out piano together with his mom, however when he heard a chunk of music by the composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini, his focus shifted to a unique instrument and he decided to make a profession of it.

“I used to be fascinated by the sound of the oboe on a document we had of the overture to Rossini’s opera ‘The Silken Ladder,’” Mr. Stacy recalled in a 1996 interview with The Associated Press. “I knew then that I needed to be a musician.”

If the oboe was a considerably uncommon choice for a younger musician, Mr. Stacy quickly made the much more unconventional option to specialize within the English horn, a confusingly named instrument that’s not in actual fact a horn however quite a double-reed instrument, an alto member of the oboe household.

In the following many years he grew to become one of many best English horn virtuosos within the United States; he performed with the New York Philharmonic for nearly 40 years, appeared as a visitor soloist everywhere in the nation and past, and contributed to numerous recordings. Numerous composers wrote works particularly for him, and he grew to become one thing of an envoy for his unusual instrument — performing all-English-horn applications, main an annual summer time seminar and inspiring an growth of the repertory.

Mr. Stacy died on April 30 in hospice care in Southampton, N.Y. He was 84. His son Barton Stacy stated the trigger was coronary heart failure.

Mr. Stacy was additionally an skilled on the oboe d’amore, a Baroque-era instrument with a mezzo-soprano vary. At some recitals he would swap amongst English horn, oboe d’amore and conventional oboe. Whatever he was enjoying, critics praised his tone and his dexterity.

“Mellifluous melancholy is the English horn’s foremost orchestral inventory in commerce,” John Henken wrote in The Los Angeles Times in 1988, reviewing a recital at Trinity Lutheran Church in Reseda, Calif., the place Mr. Stacy performed the opposite two devices as nicely, “however Stacy demonstrated a a lot wider vary of expression and sound. He might make the horn sing with virtually human suavity, or stutter with martial brilliance, all supported by the booming acoustic of the Trinity sanctuary.”

As for why he selected the English horn as his foremost instrument, Mr. Stacy had a easy reply.

“It is most just like the human voice,” he stated within the 1996 interview, “and has probably the most expressive potential in a extra expressive vary than different devices.”

Thomas Jefferson Stacy was born on Aug. 15, 1938, in Little Rock, Ark. His father, additionally named Thomas, was a farmer and cotton dealer, and his mom, Nora Lee (Conditt) Stacy, was a homemaker and church organist.

He grew up in Augusta, Ark., a small metropolis northeast of Little Rock, and began his musical coaching on the piano, violin and clarinet earlier than selecting the oboe after which zeroing in on the English horn. When he was 14, he offered his bike with a purpose to purchase one.

“It wasn’t a Harley or something,” he informed The USA Prime Time in 1999, “only a small, light-weight bike.”

He largely taught himself to play the oboe and English horn, utilizing a e-book that confirmed the fingerings. He was 17 and nonetheless a junior in highschool when the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., gave him a full scholarship.

“I began out on oboe at Eastman,” he stated, “however I additionally performed English horn in a few of the performing teams. It was already my desire. It matches my musical persona like a glove.”

While at Eastman he met a fellow scholar, Marie Elizabeth Mann. They married in 1960, the identical yr that each graduated and that Mr. Stacy joined the New Orleans Philharmonic. He later performed with the San Antonio Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra earlier than becoming a member of the New York Philharmonic in 1972.

He appeared as soloist with the Philharmonic greater than 70 instances earlier than leaving within the fall of 2010. By then quite a few works had been written particularly with him in thoughts, together with Ned Rorem’s Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra, which had its world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall in Manhattan in 1994. Alex Ross, reviewing the efficiency in The Times, discovered elements of the work “curiously fragmentary and unfocused.” But, he added, “Mr. Stacy tied these disparate impressions along with a wealthy tone and dazzling method.”

In addition to his spouse and his son Barton, Mr. Stacy, who lived in Hampton Bays, N.Y., is survived by one other son, Phillip, and two grandchildren.

In the 1996 interview, Mr. Stacy talked about how a musician of his caliber stayed sharp.

“The higher you might be, the more durable it’s to enhance,” he stated, “and that’s what I take into consideration most, learn how to enhance. It’s like chipping golf balls to the inexperienced with an 8-iron. You should follow the beginning and stopping of notes so that they sound good.”

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