The long-serving principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic is still out there, playing solo.
Conductor David Bernard has booked him to play the Mozart concerto with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony on November 8-9 (details below) and has been quizzing him about some of the twists and turns of 60 years in the Philharmonic. Why, for instance, did Leonard Bernstein never write him a concerto?
While Lenny was just too busy to write a clarinet concerto, he did arrange for John Corigliano to write one, and then insisted on conducting the premiere! I think that the Corigliano Concerto is the hardest piece ever written for the clarinet. The Nielsen concerto has been considered the hardest. But the Corigliano has passages of great technical difficulty, very fast staccato passages and high notes played super soft. And in the slow movement, it seems like you’re playing forever without breathing. It takes a lot of strength-but it always gets a standing ovation.
Read the rest of the interview here.
Stanley Drucker appears with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony led by David Bernard on Saturday, November 8th at 8PM and Sunday, November 9th at 3PM at All Saints Church, 230 East 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Advance tickets are available online here.