First commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony at age 17, Nathaniel Stookey has collaborated with many of the world's great orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The National Symphony, The Toronto Symphony, The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and The Hallé Orchestra, where he was composer-in-residence under Kent Nagano.
Stookey's concerto for two violins and strings, Double, was commissioned to represent the year 1999 in the millennial festival in Sheffield, England. The San Francisco Symphony commissioned, premiered, and recorded The Composer Is Dead (2006), a sinister guide to the orchestra with narration by Lemony Snicket. It has been performed by hundreds of orchestras worldwide and cited as one of the five most performed works of the 21st century. Stookey’s Mahlerwerk (2011), commissioned by NDR-Sinfonie (Hamburg) for their centennial Mahler cycle, was premiered under Christoph Eschenbach before an audience of ten thousand people. Stookey's critically acclaimed String Quartet No. 3 'The Mezzanine' was commissioned and premiered by Kronos Quartet in 2013. April 2016 marked the premiere of Yield To Total Elation for chamber orchestra, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and inspired by the architect A.G. Rizzoli’s imaginary city.
As a composer of vocal and theatrical music, Stookey’s work has received considerable acclaim for innovation and emotional immediacy. Frederica von Stade kicked off her 2009 farewell tour with Stookey’s setting of her personal texts Into the Bright Lights. The following year he scored John Doyle’s production of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle. Stookey’s monodrama Ivonne (2014) for soprano and trio was commissioned and premiered by Opera Memphis for the “Ghosts of Crosstown” project. Later this year he releases a recording of Zipperz for two pop singers and orchestra performed by The Magik*Magik Orchestra.
— April 2016