Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker To Make Final NY Philharmonic Concerto Appearances 6/4,6/ 6, And 6/9
New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker, who will retire from the Orchestra at the end of the 2008–09 season concluding a 60-year tenure, will give his final concerto appearances in performances of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, conducted by Lorin Maazel, Tuesday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 6, at 8:00 p.m., and Tuesday, June 9, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Drucker, who joined the New York Philharmonic at age 19 in 1948, and whose tenure encompasses one-third of the history of the 167-year-old orchestra, will have performed as soloist with the Orchestra some 200 times (both at home and abroad), and will have played in more than 10,200 concerts under nine New York Philharmonic conductors at the conclusion of his tenure.
Mr. Drucker has performed the Copland Clarinet Concerto 59 times with the Orchestra, first under Efrem Kurtz in August 1969, and is the soloist on the Philharmonic’s Grammy-nominated recording of the work with Leonard Bernstein. The Copland Clarinet Concerto has been performed by only one other clarinet player in Philharmonic history — Benny Goodman — who performed it first with the Orchestra, in June 1969, led by the composer. The June concerts, conducted by Mr. Maazel — who is concluding his own seven-year tenure as Music Director with the Philharmonic at the end of the season — will also include J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; the World Premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’s a Voice, a Messenger — a Co-Commission with the New York Philharmonic and the Big Ten Band Association; and Ravel’s Boléro.
Stanley Drucker will be the subject of a New York Philharmonic Archives exhibition, 60 Years with the Philharmonic: Celebrating Stanley Drucker. This exhibition, celebrating the longest tenure of a musician in the New York Philharmonic, will display photographs and programs, manuscript excerpts from John Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto — written for and premiered by Drucker with the Philharmonic — and video excerpts of Mr. Drucker performing around the world, May 18–August 25, on the east side of the Grand Promenade of Avery Fisher Hall.
On Friday, June 5, at 8:00 p.m., Mr. Drucker will perform Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the New York Philharmonic at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Lorin Maazel will lead the program, which includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky/Ravel; and Ravel’s Boléro. On Friday, June 19, at 8:00 p.m., Mr. Drucker will perform the Copland Clarinet Concerto with the Orchestra at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Brookville, New York. Mr. Maazel will lead the concert, which also features Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; Lorin Maazel’s Farewells; and Ravel’s Boléro.
The New York Philharmonic Offstage at Barnes & Noble will feature Stanley Drucker in a free, celebratory appearance and in-store performance and discussion with 96.3 FM WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Triangle, 66th Street and Broadway, on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
“It is difficult to imagine the New York Philharmonic without Stanley Drucker,” said Philharmonic President and Executive Director Zarin Mehta. “His steady combination of true artistry with consummate professionalism alone would have made him an invaluable asset over the decades. Add to that his role as a living connection with the greatness of the Philharmonic’s legacy from the past 60 years, and the result is a true treasure. We wish him much health and happiness in the years to come.” “Playing with the New York Philharmonic has been a great musical adventure and a challenge every day,” said Mr. Drucker. “It has been a career of magnificent length, and I am fortunate to have experienced these 60 years. What will I do now? I’m a player — and I will always play!”
Stanley Drucker (The Edna and W. Van Alan Clark Chair) joined the New York Philharmonic at age 19 in 1948, was named Principal Clarinet in the 1960–61 season by Leonard Bernstein, and made his solo debut with the Orchestra in 1961 in Debussy’s Clarinet Rhapsody conducted by Bernstein. By the end of his tenure he will have performed as soloist with the Orchestra some 200 times (both at home and abroad), and will have played in more than 10,200 concerts with the New York Philharmonic, including on major historic international tours, from the Orchestra’s first visit to the U.S.S.R. in 1959 with Leonard Bernstein to the recent visit to Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Mr. Drucker’s tenure with the New York Philharmonic encompasses one-third of the history of the 167-year-old orchestra. He has served under nine New York Philharmonic conductors, from Bruno Walter and Leonard Bernstein to Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, and, currently, Lorin Maazel, and has performed under nearly 400 conductors in total. In 1988, on his 50th anniversary with the Orchestra, he was named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America.
Mr. Drucker has premiered two concertos — by John Corigliano and William Bolcom — that were commissioned for him by the Philharmonic. He earned two Grammy nominations in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist/Classical with Orchestra: in 1992 for his recording of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the Philharmonic and Bernstein, and in 1982 for Mr. Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto with the Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta. He is featured on a number of other Philharmonic recordings: Debussy’s Premiere Rapsodie with Bernstein; Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto; and in the world-premiere live performance (1977) of the Corigliano Clarinet Concerto, which is a part of the Orchestra’s CD box set, The Historic Broadcasts: 1923-1987. Mr. Drucker’s other recordings include New York Legends: Recitals with Principals from the New York Philharmonic; Schumann’s Complete Works for Winds and Piano; the Mozart Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major, K.581; and a two-CD set of Brahms’s two clarinet sonatas, Trio in A minor, and Quintet in B minor entitled Drucker Plays Brahms. He is also heard on the world-premiere broadcast of William Bolcom’s Clarinet Concerto, part of the New York Philharmonic Special Editions boxed set An American Celebration.
Stanley Drucker began clarinet studies at the age of 10 with Leon Russianoff, his principal teacher, and later attended the High School of Music and Art and The Curtis Institute of Music. He was appointed Principal Clarinet of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at age 16, of the Adolf Busch Chamber Players at 17, and of the Buffalo Philharmonic at 18, prior to joining the New York Philharmonic.
Related concert events:
New York Philharmonic Podcast Mark Travis, a producer for the WFMT Radio Network since 1999 and the producer of the 52-week-per-year nationally syndicated radio series, The New York Philharmonic This Week, will host this podcast. These previews of upcoming programs — through musical selections as well as interviews with guest artists, conductors, and Orchestra musicians — are available at nyphil.org/podcast or from iTunes.
National Radio Broadcast This program will be broadcast the week of June 8, 2009,* on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated nationally to more than 295 stations by the WFMT Radio Network. The 52-week series, hosted by WFMT’s Kerry Frumkin, is generously underwritten by The Kaplen Foundation, the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Philharmonic’s corporate partner, MetLife Foundation. The broadcast will be available on the Philharmonic’s Website, nyphil.org. The program is broadcast locally in the New York metropolitan area on 96.3 FM WQXR on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m.
*Check local listings for broadcast and program information.
Aaron Copland experimented with jazz during the 1920s in such works as Music for the Theater and the Piano Concerto, but he did not incorporate jazz styles into his work again until 1947, when he began work on his Clarinet Concerto. In 1947, legendary clarinet player and unofficial “King of Swing” Benny Goodman asked the composer to write a concerto for his performances with symphony orchestras. Copland worked on the piece during the summer of 1948 while teaching at the Tanglewood Music Center, and finished it that fall at his home in Sneden’s Landing, New York. With Goodman as the soloist, the work was given its world premiere in 1950, with the NBC Symphony led by Fritz Reiner. Following a lyrical, even poetic first movement, the concerto opens up for virtuosic displays by the soloist, with jazz-influenced rhythms that also recall the composer’s interest in South American music. Copland conducted the first Philharmonic performances of his Clarinet Concerto in June 1969, with Benny Goodman. The most recent performances were given in November 1999, led by Kurt Masur, with Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker, who will have performed it with the Philharmonic 64 times. The work has been recorded twice by the Philharmonic: with Raymond Leppard in 1986, and with Leonard Bernstein in 1989. For both recordings, Stanley Drucker was the soloist.
Credit Suisse is the Global Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.
The commissioning of Aaron Jay Kernis’s a Voice, a Messenger was made possible with a generous gift from Marie-Josée Kravis. Major support for these concerts was provided by the Francis Goelet Fund.
Single tickets for the June 4, 6, and 9 concerts are $36 to $114. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $16. All tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office, Lincoln Center, Broadway at 65th Street. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of $12 tickets for select concerts may be available through the Internet for students within 10 days of the performance, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic’s Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. [Ticket prices subject to change.] For tickets to the June 5 concert at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, please call the box office at (888) 466-5722 or go online at www.njpac.org.
New York Philharmonic Avery Fisher Hall Hear & Now Thursday, June 4, 2009, 7:30 p.m. Open Rehearsal — 9:45 a.m. Saturday, June 6, 2009, 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 7:30 p.m. Hear & Now Pre-Concert Talk at 6:30 p.m. on the Avery Fisher Hall stage with host Steven Stucky and composer Aaron Jay Kernis Lorin Maazel, conductor Michelle Kim, violin Renée Siebert, flute Mindy Kaufman, flute Philip Smith, trumpet Stanley Drucker, clarinet J.S. BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 Aaron Jay Kernis a Voice, a Messenger (World Premiere–New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Big Ten Band Association) Copland Clarinet Concerto Ravel Boléro.
Photo by Chris Lee