Thursday, June 04, 2009

Drucker Retires

A few years back, I was surprised to discover that Stanley Drucker, a stalwart of the New York Philharmonic during my childhood, was still playing. I figured he'd been around for 30 or 40 years.

Was I ever wrong. After sixty (60!) years with the New York Philharmonic, 49 of them as principal clarinetist, Stanley Drucker is retiring at the close of this season. He's played 10,200 concerts (!!!) under 10 music directors and countless guest conductors.

These are all astonishing numbers. Has any other orchestral musician come close to them? Read all about Stanley Drucker in Daniel Wakin's NY Times article today.


Tod Brody said...

Thanks for this article, Lisa. Not to detract even an iota from the amazing tenure you response to your question, one who at the very least came close to approaching Drucker's numbers is in our own back yard. Paul Renzi retired in 2004 at the age of 78, having been appointed principal flutist of the San Francisco Symphony 60 years earlier, in 1944, by Pierre Monteux. The only thing that kept Renzi from matching Drucker was his seven-year stint in the NBC Orchestra with Toscanini. After that orchestra disbanded, Renzi took up his principal position back in San Francisco. Josh Kosman's article on the occasion of his retirement can be seen at

Lisa Hirsch said...

You are so right! And I am incredibly embarrassed, since I read Josh's article (that's a clickable link...) with great interest at the time. Thank you.

Paul H. Muller said...

Bud Herseth played 53 years in Chicago, retiring in 2001. He is still considered the gold standard for symphonic trumpet players.

Anonymous said...

"The Philharmonic has yet to find a successor. Auditions this season were inconclusive."

I guess he's literally irreplaceable.

Lisa Hirsch said...

This is not so unusual. Note the number of auditions that've been held to find a new Principal Violist of the San Francisco Symphony.