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Born in the center of Fredricksburg on Oct 15 1858, van der Stucken showed
promise as a prodigy in music at an early age. His parents Franzis and
Barbara-Sophie Schoenewolf van der Stucken immediately made plans to return
to the van der Stucken ancestral home in Antwerp, Belgium, where the young
boy could learn from European masters.
At age 16, his pieces for choir and orchestra were performed to a great
applause. Later his orchestral ballet was performed in triumph in the
Antwerp Royal Theatre. In Leipzig, he studied under Edvard Grieg and Carl
Reinecke from 1876-78.
From then on his career was astounding. He was named the musical director of
the prestigious Arion Music Sociey of New York in 1884 and took them on a
concert tour across Europe in 1892. In 1895 the First Lady, Mrs. William
Howard Taft, convinced him to be the founding director of the Cincinnati
Again, going on a European tour, he was first to introduce American
comositions at the World Exposition in Paris in 1899.
After a distinguished career he and his wife, Maria, returned to Germany
to her familiar surrundings of Hamburg and Hildeshiem where she was born.
He died on 16 August 1929 and is buried in Hamburg in the Ohlsdorfer Cemetery
alongside other members of his immediate family.
A statue of ven der Stucken was dedicated in the Pioneer Garden on the
Marktplatz, Fredricksburg’s downtown square. The statue was created by local
sculptor Russ Thayer and portrays the composer as a young musician.