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.
In 1880 he befriended Giussepe Verdi, Chabrier, Massenet and others. In 1883, Franz Liszt sponsored van Der Stucken directing his own ‘Symphonic Prologue’ to Heinrich Hiene’s ‘William Radcliffe’ with Liszt and Grieg in the audience.
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 Symphony Orchestra.
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.