Friday, June 05, 2009

Enjoy Retirement, Stanley

The New York Times has a really nice write up about Stanley Drucker, the principal clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic. Drucker is retiring after 60 years with the orchestra, with a final performance of his signature work, Copland's Concerto for Clarinet, Strings, and Harp next week. Drucker is the only clarinetist who has performed that work with the Philharmonic aside from the man for whom it was written, Benny Goodman (Drucker himself was the person for whom John Corigliano wrote his clarinet concerto).

It will mark the end of an era:

In his time he has seen the orchestra turn from a smoke-filled, poker-playing boys’ club to an assembly half populated by women; progress from a part-time job to a year-round occupation; move from Carnegie Hall to Lincoln Center. He lived through its heyday as a recording machine and watched its output dry up to nothing but a dribble of online issues.

He has played for most of the great conductors of his time: George Szell ('not a pleasant guy'), Dimitri Mitropoulos ('a saint'), Leopold Stokowski ('called everybody ‘You, sir’ '), Leonard Bernstein ('Whatever he touched seemed to work').
As a clarinet player, Drucker is one of those "name" players that made my ears prick up. Enjoy your retirement, Stanley - you've earned it!

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