Will Stackpole is an American composer whose music has been called "lively", "interesting" and possessing a "savage charm" by the New York Times. Stackpole's works have been played across the country by many notable ensembles including the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Juilliard Orchestra. He began his musical career as an electric guitarist and recording engineer, primarily performing in rock bands in his home state of New Hampshire and later in Hoboken, New Jersey. As an undergraduate at Stevens Institute of Technology, while studying guitar with Carlos Alomar and music theory with Andy Brick, Will began writing concert music and quickly developed a unique compositional voice. He spent the next two years studying composition with Justin Dello Joio while working in New York as a freelance composer and orchestrator for theater, film, and television. Mr. Stackpole has since refocused his efforts on creating conceptually innovative concert music. His work is made up of an eclectic blend of styles and influences ranging across a wide spectrum: from opera to rock and from Miles Davis to Igor Stravinsky.
Stackpole's music is enigmatic in its ability to simultaneously stimulate, explore, and enthrall. He has a noted affinity for composing music that utilizes novel colors within a rich rhythmic framework. Most commonly, Stackpole takes a "meta-musical" approach to his compositions. Aft Agley (2015) is a work for orchestra that actually explores the process of its own creation. The work features a series of failed attempts to resolve its own opening idea, which leads to a wide variety of orchestral colors and atmospheres ranging from agitation, to sarcasm, to raucous celebration. His music often contains a narrative of sorts, at times even becoming political in nature. His work …Ask Questions Later, premiered in 2016 by the NJSO, highlights the inevitable consequences of gun violence by exploring a musical landscape that takes place in the time between an outburst and an impact.
Will is also the founder and artistic director for Focal Point New Music, a performing arts initiative that each year pairs student composers with players of a specific instrument that is underrepresented in contemporary music. In 2015, Focal Point premiered with a concert of works featuring percussion at the Juilliard School. In 2016, efforts were expanded to two performances in Manhattan, this time with new works for the harp. This initiative's aim is to foster working relationships between composers and musicians that will continue for many years and to create works that can enjoy many further performances by musicians across the country.
Stackpole holds a B.A. in Music and Technology from Stevens Institute of Technology and an M.M. in Composition from the Juilliard School. His teachers have included Robert Beaser, Justin Dello Joio, David Dzubay, Bob Aldridge, and Andy Brick. In addition to his output as a composer, Stackpole's work as a conductor, producer, and audio engineer have led him to work in many different media with fantastic artists of all sorts. He has composed for and designed projects in theater, film, television, and dance. He is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School where he is pursuing his D.M.A. in the studio of Robert Beaser.