Thomas Stacy of Hampton Bays Remembered as Famed English Horn Player

English horn player Thomas Stacy Photo by Chris Lee
English horn player Thomas Stacy Photo by Chris Lee

Thomas J. Stacy Jr. of Hampton Bays, a renowned English horn player, died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on the evening of April 30. He was 84.

Born August 15, 1938, he was a true Leo who loved life, entertaining and painting. His wife Marie, with whom he enjoyed 62 years together, sons Phillip and Barton, daughter-in-law Helen and grandchildren Thomas and Ally Rose survive him.

Stacy enjoyed an illustrious 38-year career with the New York Philharmonic. The most recorded English horn player in the world, he received a Grammy nomination in 2005 in the “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra” category for his recording with the London Symphony Orchestra of “Eventide-Concerto for English Horn,” written for him by Kenneth Fuchs.

Stacy has been hailed as “the Heifetz of the English horn” by The New York Times, and was called “a poet among craftsmen” by Leonard Bernstein. He has appeared as guest soloist with major orchestras throughout the world.

Additionally he has appeared as soloist more than 70 times with the New York Philharmonic. He has been profiled on CBS Sunday Morning, where he was compared to Segovia and Rampal as a pioneer soloist, as well as on NPR’s All Things Considered. He also was interviewed and has performed three times on CBS This Morning.

An estimated 5.4 million viewers have seen his solo performances with the New York Philharmonic on Live From Lincoln Center telecasts. He has given the world premieres of more than 30 new works.

In January 1994, Stacy was soloist in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s “English Horn Concerto,” a work created especially for him as one of the New York Philharmonic’s 150th Anniversary Commissions, and performed the work on the Philharmonic’s Asian Tour and the Philharmonic’s 1996 European Festivals Tour.

In November 2000, Stacy premiered a new work written for him by John Wyre for English horn and gamelan, in Toronto; the CBC broadcast the concert. As a best-selling crossover recording artist, Stacy has shown his musical versatility by combining the sensuous sound of the English horn with synthesizers, guitars and percussion on two CDs from London’s Nu-View label.

Stacey had a passion, sharing his knowledge with other English horn players at his long-running annual seminar in Carmel Valley, California.

He grew up in Augusta, Arkansas. His mother, Nora Lee, a church organist, and he listened to the New York Philharmonic Sunday afternoon broadcasts, which inspired the life that was to come.

While in junior high, he sold his motorcycle to buy his first English horn. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music with distinction, and received the George Eastman Scholarship for distinguished achievement in all areas of study.

“Remember to keep laughing” Tom Stacy