Appointed by Sir Georg Solti, Gary Stucka joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1986. He began playing cello at the age of eight and received his first lessons at the Park View School in Morton Grove, Illinois. He subsequently studied with CSO cellists Harry Sturm and Assistant Principal Cello Leonard Chausow.
As a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, he received the Louis Sudler Foundation for the Musical Arts Award. Stucka continued his studies as a scholarship student of Karl Fruh at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Musical College (now the Chicago College of Performing Arts), where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
He was assistant principal cello of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and served as principal of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 1981. In 1981, he joined the Cleveland Orchestra, where he remained until joining the CSO.
A member of the Pressenda Trio since 1989, Stucka also has performed with the Chicago Symphony String Quartet. In addition to many guest soloist appearances with numerous orchestras in the United States and Canada, he has served on the faculties of Northwestern University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Upon his retirement in 2023, Stucka noted, “It has been an honor to represent Chicago with the finest musicians in the world and to travel to corners of the world I never thought I’d be lucky enough to see: Europe, Australia, Russia and Asia.” He is looking forward to pursuing his audiophile interests, including historic gramophones and classic recordings, as well as traveling and enjoying time attending concerts with family and friends.