Stalvey died weeks after LACMA announced that it would cut back its music program, eliminating the Monday night new-music series and ending the residencies of the new-music groups California EAR Unit and Xtet.
Trained as a clarinetist at the College of Music in Cincinnati, Stalvey began his career as a jazz musician. Later, he studied classical composition on his own and taught the subject at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. He became director of LACMA's Monday Evening Concerts in 1971 and director of the museum's entire music program in 1981.
"Thought weak and ill in these last months, he refused to take lying down LACMA's attempts at axing his essential programs," music critic Mark Swed told the Times.
Stalvey's works included Ex Ferus for six cellos or string sextet and the multimedia work In Time and Not. At the time of his death, he was composing an opera about the accident that killed the crew of the Russian submarine Kursk in 2000.