Just in: Clarinet saves life as conductor suffers rehearsal heart attack

Just in: Clarinet saves life as conductor suffers rehearsal heart attack


norman lebrecht

November 03, 2013

The second clarinet saw it happening and acted fast. Dr Sheri Rolf, who is a medical practitioner at the Billings Clinic, recognised the signs of a heart attack as conductor Gordon Johnson started to sweat and sway during rehearsal with the Great Falls Symphony, in Montana. Here’s what happened next.




  • Mark powell says:

    You know I’ve said this for years.

    Clarinet players.

    Saving the world, sometimes one person at a time.

  • Associate Professor of Music History (and clarinetist), Eastern Washington University says:

    Sheri Rolf is a terrific person. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the International Clarinet Association’s annual ClarinetFest a few years ago, when she presented an excellent paper on a method she has developed for optimal hand position on the clarinet. Well done, Dr. Rolf!!

  • Robert R. Hylton, MD (Former anesthesiologist, amateur hornist. says:

    Sherri and I were colleagues in the operating rooms in Billings, Montana, for many years. Always a delight to work with, she is a multiply-talented, civic-minded, delightful musician/physician.

  • I don’t know Dr. Rolf personally, but well done on her part!

    I’ve worked under Maestro Johnson on numerous occasions. He’s an absolutely fabulous conductor, and I’m really glad this story had a happy ending!

  • Thanks Sheri! The GFSA considers ourselves VERY fortunate that you are part of our orchestra.

  • Sheri L Rolf says:

    Thank all of you so much for your kind words.

    I’m happy to report that Maestro Gordon Johnson is doing extremely well.

  • Maxine Ramey says:

    Sheri is a gem in many ways! So proud to be her MM teacher!