Sunday, June 7, 2009

Stanley Drucker Retires from NY Philharmonic

This has been the week to recognize the incredible career of Stanley Drucker as he makes his last solo appearance with the New York Philharmonic performing the Copland Concerto. Drucker's accomplishments include being appointed principal clarinetist of the Indianapolis Symphony at the age of 16, two Grammy nominations, the premiere of the Corigliano Concerto, 59 performances of the Copland Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, and being named Musical America’s 1998 Instrumentalist of the Year. He will retire after this season at the age of 80.

In addition to the AP video above, Drucker's retirement has received quite a bit of media coverage, so we'll try to sum it up here:

  • A fantastic June 4 New York Times article discusses the life and accomplishments of Drucker, noting that he has performed with the ensemble for 60 years (longer than any other musician in the history of the ensemble), nearly 50 of them as principal clarinetist.
  • A June 5 NY Times review of the farewell concert mentions that Drucker has set a record for "longest career as a clarinetist," as he has been performing professionally for over 62 years.
  • A fascinating June 2 radio piece on NPR's Morning Edition features clips of Drucker's playing, and thoughts from Drucker, Mark Nuccio, John Corigliano. At over 7 minutes, this is a must listen for clarinetists! The page also includes several audio selections of Drucker performing with the New York Philharmonic: The Copland Concerto in 1989 (selection ends after the cadenza), the Corigliano Concerto (first movement) from 1977, and the Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie from 1961.
  • A May 31 AP article includes comments from interviews with Drucker and Zubin Mehta.
  • A May 26 Wall Street Journal article covers the upcoming concert and Drucker's life and career. Drucker reflects on the various conductors he has worked with, and the early years when the orchestra was all-male and "like a private club backstage," complete with poker and cigars.
  • Stanley Drucker by the Numbers has statistics about Drucker's career.
  • The NY Philharmonic site includes a biography and and interview with Drucker from 2002.
  • Drucker's most popular video on YouTube is a live telecast of Drucker playing the Weber Concertino with the New York Philharmonic in 1989 (and the rather awkward Hugh Downs interview with Drucker afterwards!)
And finally, here is a video of Drucker discussing the Copland Concerto, posted on the New York Philharmonic's YouTube channel.


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