Stokes, Eric (Norman)

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Stokes, Eric (Norman)

Stokes, Eric (Norman), American composer and teacher; b. Haddon Heights, N.J., July 14, 1930; d. in an automobile accident in Minneapolis, March 16, 1999. He studied at Lawrence Coll. (B.M., 1952), with Carl McKinley and Francis Judd Cooke at the New England Cons. of Music in Boston (M.M., 1956), and with Argento and Fetler at the Univ. of Minn. (Ph.D., 1964). In 1961 he joined the faculty of the Univ. of Minn., where he was a prof. from 1977 until his retirement in 1988. He also founded its electronic music laboratory and the First Minn. Moving and Storage Warehouse Band, a contemporary music ensemble, in 1971. In addition to his varied musical activities, he also wrote poetry and was engaged in environmental causes. In his music, Stokes was principally influenced by Ives, Cage, and Brant. His early interest in collage and mixed media scores prompted him to pursue an eclectic experimental course, producing works leavened with imagination, lyricism, and wit.


DRAMATIC : Horspfal, opera (Minneapolis, Feb. 15, 1969); Lampyridae, theater piece (1973); Happ or Orpheus in Clover, micro-opera (1977); The Jealous Cellist, opera (Minneapolis, Feb. 2, 1979); Rock & Roll, theater piece (Minneapolis, June 13, 1980); Itaru the Stonecutter, opera (Roseville, Minn., March 25, 1982); Tag, theater piece (1982; Minneapolis, May 6, 1992); We’re Not Robots, You Know, musical (1986; television premiere, Minneapolis, May 26, 1988); Apollonia’s Circus, opera (Minneapolis, May 13, 1994). ORCH .: A Center Harbor Holiday (Center Harbor, N.H., July 18, 1963); Sonatas for Strings (1966; Monnickendam, the Netherlands, July 10, 1970); On the Badlands—Parables for Chamber Orch. (St. Paul, Minn., June 3, 1972); 5 Verbs of Earth Encircled for Narrator and Chamber Orch. (1973); The Continental Harp and Band Report (1974–75; Minneapolis, March 5, 1975); Pack-Rat (2-step) Slow (March) Drag for Chamber Orch. (1976; St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 12, 1977); The Spirit of Place Among the People for Orch. and Audience (Minneapolis, July 2, 1977); 5 syms.: No. 1 (Aptos, Calif., Aug. 31, 1979), No. 2 (1981; Rochester, N.Y., Feb. 11, 1982), No. 3, Captions on the War Against Earth (1989; Kansas City, Mo., Jan. 1, 1990), No. 4, The Ghost Bus to Eldorado (1990; N.Y., Jan. 6, 1991), and No. 5, Native Dancer (Anchorage, Oct. 26, 1991); Prairie Drum for Chamber Orch. (St. Donats Castle, Wales, Aug. 30, 1981); Concert Music for Piano and Orch. (San Francisco, Dec. 3, 1982); The Greenhouse Effect for Chamber Orch. (Minneapolis, March 8, 1983); Cotton Candy (Minneapolis, June 19, 1986); Stages (Homage to Kurt Weill) (St. Donats Castle, Wales, Aug. 27, 1988); Prophet Bird for Chamber Orch., after Robert Schumann (St. Paul, Minn., Oct. 1, 1992); Fanfare of Rings, for the 100th anniversary of the Cincinnati Sym. Orch. (1994; Cincinnati, Nov. 24, 1995); Stipplings on Motley for Chamber Orch. (St. Donats Castle, Wales, Aug. 17, 1995). chamber: Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1955; rev. 1963); Expositions for 9 Instruments (Vienna, April 8, 1970); Eldey Island for Wind Instrument and Tape (1971); Circles in a Round for Piano(s) and Optional Tape(s) (1972; Appleton, Wise, Nov. 14, 1974); Spring Song for 5 Players and Spring Instruments (Minneapolis, June 13, 1980); Wind Quintet No. 2 (Minneapolis, May 1, 1981); Tintinnabulary for 2 Percussionists (1983); Susquehannas for Clarinet, Piano, and 2 Percussion (Minneapolis, March 2, 1985); Brazen Cartographies for Brass Quintet (Philadelphia, Nov. 6, 1988); The Lyrical Pickpocket for Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, and Toy Piano (Minneapolis, March 25, 1990); Neon Nocturnes for 8 Trombones (Kalamazoo, June 14, 1990); Whittlings for 4 Players (1992; St. Paul. Minn., March 13, 1993); The Pickpocket is Lyrical Two for Clarinet, Keyboard, and 2 Percussion (St. Paul, Minn., March 25, 1995); Taniamounts for 4 Flutes and String Quartet (N.Y., Aug. 15, 1996); Shadows for 2 Alto Saxophones (Minneapolis, April 21, 1996). VOCAL : Smoke and Steel for Tenor, Men’s Chorus, and Orch. (Boston, May 14, 1958; rev. 1989); The River’s Minute by the Far Brook’s Year for Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (Minneapolis, Nov. 18, 1981); Peppercorn Songs for Chorus and Piano or Optional Ensemble (Minneapolis, May 13, 1984); Wondrous World for Chorus and Tape (1984; East Berlin, Oct. 11, 1985); Harbor Dawn and Proems for Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (St. Paul, Minn., May 8, 1986); Firecho for 5 or More Soloists and Optional Percussion (Minneapolis, Aug. 23, 1987); Mermaids Stand by the King of the Sea for Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 12, 1991); Song Circle for Soprano, Flute, and Harp (1993; N.Y., Jan. 16, 1994); Pied Beauty for Chorus, 2 Trumpets, 2 Horns, Timpani, and Organ (1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire