In Friday’s (6/5) New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin writes, “A scheduling mishap left the New York Philharmonic in a pickle last month. With the players onstage and audience members shifting in their seats, there was no one in the first clarinet chair for Shostakovich‘s Violin Concerto No. 1. Stanley Drucker, the orchestra’s principal clarinetist, was not scheduled to play. When word of the problem reached him, he rushed from the players’ lounge, took his place and quickly flipped through the technically demanding part as the conductor, David Zinman, and the soloist, Christian Tetzlaff, walked onstage. Though he hadn’t performed the work since the 1950s, Mr. Drucker nailed it, colleagues later recounted, throwing out Shostakovich’s skittering, manic lines with aplomb. ‘I think I did a pretty good job,’ Mr. Drucker said. ‘I guess it’ll go into the folklore of “jumping in.” ‘ Mr. Drucker, 80, will soon enter something bigger than folklore. Legend maybe? History? He is retiring from the Philharmonic after 60 years, the longest tenure of any player in the orchestra’s existence. … On Saturday and Tuesday, Mr. Drucker is to give his final solo performances with the orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, playing Aaron Copland‘s Concerto.”

Posted June 5, 2009

Photo credit: Michael DiVito