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.