I am a British composer particularly active in the field of organ and sacred choral
music but my commissioned pieces also include orchestral, ballet and piano music.
Among my bigger works are a violin concerto and two symphonies; the first symphony
was commissioned for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
There are audio clips of various of my compositions on soundcloud.
As well as finding up-to-date information about my music on this webpage, there are
also a few notes about my related work as an organist, organ and music theory teacher,
musicologist and music examiner.
Come to your Heaven for choir and organ was released on the Priory Label in December
2012 sung by the choir or St Michael’s, Cornhill, conducted by Jonathan Rennert.
The piece was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
My main musical mentors in composition were Howard Ferguson and Margaret Hubicki.
Having started composing as a fairly small child, my music first came before the
wider musical world when the CD of my Lament for Bosnia (FCC 0001) was top of the
classical charts in Tower Records for several weeks and it is still my most performed
and broadcast work, including several airings on the BBC and Classic FM. Particularly
memorable for me was conducting Lament with the Strings of the Royal Academy of Music
and with the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra. Since Lament I have been fortunate
that one composing opportunity has led to another.
My First Symphony was commissioned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
and performed in the main concert season of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the
Royal Albert Hall, conducted by Vernon Handley and broadcast on Classic FM. My Second
Symphony and Violin Concerto were both performed on separate occasions at St John’s,
Smith Square. A ballet, Alice, was commissioned by the Stadttheater in Giessen,
Germany, and has received many performances. Missa Pacis, an orchestral and choral
mass, was commissioned for the Brompton Oratory, London. Top of the Morning for
flute and piano (in Flute Time Pieces 1) was published by OUP. Bagatelle for piano,
played by Mark Tanner, was released on disc in 2009 (PRCD 1018). These are just some
selected highlights; contact me for more detailed information.
I was born in Birmingham, the only child of my British-born father and my mother
who came to the UK as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. I was a chorister at Southwell
Minster, where I studied the organ under Kenneth Beard. At Chetham’s School of Music,
I studied the organ with Derrick Cantrell and became Head Boy. As Organ Scholar
of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, my Director of Studies was Peter le Huray and
I studied the organ with Peter Hurford. I became an Associate of the Royal College
of Organists at sixteen, winning five prizes, later being even luckier to win a further
three prizes when I became a Fellow.
My occasional organ recitals have been in churches, cathedrals and college chapels,
including King’s College, Cambridge. I also played a piano duet with James Kirby
on a CD for Chandos featuring the music of Margaret Hubicki (CHAN 10322). I have
held various church-music appointments, and became Director of Music at St Mary’s,
Woodford in London in 2011.
Hoping to deepen my composing technique, I decided to make a study of Anton Bruckner’s
mammoth musical apprenticeship with Simon Sechter and its influence on Bruckner’s
Music. The research was awarded a PhD from Manchester University and was subsequently
published as a book: Simon Sechter’s Fundamental-Bass Theory and Its Influence
on the Music of Anton Bruckner(Edwin Mellen Press, 2009). As a fledgling musicologist
hunting in Vienna I stumbled upon a clue to some overlooked contemporary reminiscences
about Schubert giving, for instance, Schubert’s only recorded opinions about Bach;
co-authored with the Schubert expert Rita Steblin, these memoirs were published as
‘Studying with Sechter: Newly Recovered Reminiscences about Schubert by his Forgotten
Friend, the Composer Joseph Lanz’, Music & Letters, 88 (May 2007), 226-65.
My piano teaching led to the invention of Scale Shapesusing the ‘Stocken Method’,
published in five volumes by Chester Music, which is now in its third revised edition.
It is a diagrammatic method for learning scales, which, although conceived in a moment,
has had surprising international popularity. Examining for the Associated Board of
the Royal Schools of Music has taken me to many countries, especially in south-east
Asia. I am also a diploma examiner for the ABRSM and a trainer of examiners.
Today I live in Poplar in East London, in the shadow of Canary Wharf, combining composition
with organ playing and freelance teaching, mainly for RCO St Giles Organ School.
“The brief Bagatelle (2008) by Frederick Stocken (born 1967) is a bittersweet treat,
fully expressed in tonal terms. One can almost taste Tanner’s enjoyment.” Fanfare
“Stocken’s Bagatelle is only two-and-a-half minutes long, and Prokofievan, too, but
with a bittersweet sophistication and melodic catchiness that suggests his larger-scale
works will be worth tracking down.” International Record Review.
“Stocken’s Bagatelle plays with major-minor expectations in a Busonian way, in a
work of neo-classical economy.” Records International.
“At last a young English composer has chosen to write accessible, beautiful music
which is unashamedly passionate and melodic.” A.N. Wilson, The Evening Standard.
“…it is music which makes me believe that a new Sibelius or a new Elgar has been
born.” A.N. Wilson, The Spectator.
“… one of the most promising talents of his generation….it is refreshing to find
a composer who is producing music which is clear, profound, free-flowing and superbly
composed.” Malcolm Williamson, the late Master of the Queen’s Music, quoted in The
“Stocken is forging his own language.” Nottingham Evening Post.
“Stocken’s work will also prove popular with players for he has written very much
a showpiece for the violin.” The Strad.
“The Agnus Dei of his Mass was beautiful and quite striking with ladders of woodwind
rising against the sound of the solo singers, soon to be shattered by the sound of
war (as in, but not like, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.)” The Tablet.
“Stocken has managed to create something like a ‘symphony of the city’ that is suitable
for our time, which makes you breathless and sometimes invites you to rest.” Translated
from Wetzlauer Neue Zeitung.
“Frederick Stocken has written a surprisingly melodic score especially for this entertaining
spectacle, reminiscent of the late romantics.” Translated from Giessener Anzeiger.