Influential Chicago composer, former Bienen Prof. Alan Stout dies at 85


Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, home to the Bienen School of Music. Bienen professor emeritus Alan Stout, a prominent figure in Chicago classical music, died Thursday at the age of 85.

Alan Perez, Assistant Campus Editor

Bienen professor emeritus Alan Stout, a composer hailed as a crucial figure in the Chicago classical music scene, died Thursday at a Chicago nursing facility. He was 85.

Stout began his career in 1963 as a professor at Northwestern, and his work was first performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra four years later. His music was seen as influential in the development of the postwar classical era.

At Northwestern, Stout taught music composition and theory. His students remember him as “a great and nurturing teacher with an uncanny ability to identify exactly what his pupils needed,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Students would also gather at his home Monday nights to explore and discuss new music, the Tribune reported.

“His courses really brought you to the core of musical structure and all the interesting stories about various works, composers and performances,” Kurt Hansen (Comm ’73, Music ’83) said in a Bienen news release.

Stout became an active member of the music community in the Chicago area, working as a scholar, pianist and conductor, according to the release.

CSO premiered several of Stout’s pieces in the 1960s and 1970s, including his Symphony No. 2 in 1967. A 1992 Chicago Reader story wrote his “meticulous style and almost patrician outlook” brought him to fame.

No cause of death has been reported.

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