Final roll for drumstick maker

Final roll for drumstick maker


norman lebrecht

July 28, 2015

A moment’s silence, please, in the timps.

Everett ‘Vic’ Firth, maker of the world’s most trusted drumsticks and friend to players and bangers everywhere, has died at 85.




  • Larry Fried says:

    He was the principal timpanist of the Boston Symphony for more than 40 years and a legendary teacher. He was my teacher.

  • Eric says:

    Vic Firth was may more than a drum set player (as you help to incorrectly indicate with that picture). He was the Principal Timpanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for more than 40 years, and in that time, pioneered a method for crafting drum sticks and equipment, becoming perhaps the most influential percussion instrument/equipment maker in the industry. Show a little more respect than just the fact that drum set players use the branded sticks.

  • Fred says:

    Norman, I’m a fan of your blog. But this is a lightweight and stupid note to memorialize the man universally regarded as one of the greatest performers, pedagogic composers, and teachers of his instrument in the world. Would you write so dismissively of the passing of one of the world’s great harpists or trombonists or tubists? Maybe you just don’t know the Boston Symphony well. Mr. Firth was a bedrock and rock star over his 50-year tenure with the BSO.

  • William P. Perry says:

    I first heard Vic Firth as a student guest timpanist playing the Shostakovich Fifth with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra around 1949. He was absolutely brilliant, and that brilliance lit up the Boston Symphony in some of its finest performances over the years..

  • Greg from SF says:

    I so agree with Larry and Fred.
    Mr. Firth, as I understand it, was first hired in the BSO by Charles Munch in 1952, and when he later became principal timpanist with the orchestra, he was the youngest principal player of any orchestra in the US at that time.
    He was a master of his instrument, and a master teacher.
    I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but have been told by many people who had that he was a very friendly and easy-to-approach man.
    An era has surely passed.

  • Tom says:

    An amazing musician who joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the age of 20 while still a student at the New England Conservatory, then became the orchestra’s youngest principle since 1898.


    Tom C

  • James Alexander says:

    RIP to a real gent. A real musician. A mentor to many. A Mensch. In my youth I had the honor of being a production manager at the mighty BSO under another genius, Ozawa. Mr. Vic Firth was a player acknowledged as a singular central backbone of the orchestra. Another universally loved musician of repute passes. RIP.

  • Eric M says:

    When Firth played timpani for the BSO, I always looked forward to hearing him. To my ear, everything he played was performed absolutely impeccably. He retired at the same time as Ozawa, to Mahler’s 9th. I remember a huge ovation for Ozawa; Firth’s ovation nearly took the roof off.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Goodbye to a fine man and an exceptional musician and teacher. RIP, Vic.

  • Daniel F. says:

    The little blurb by the blog-keeper is nearly disrespectful, but then Vic Firth was an American musician and thus, even in death, is to be accorded only the back of the blog-keeper’s hand. It’s really odd when you consider the extolling of recently deceased obscure violists, etc. in this blog. Vic Firth was something like the Casals of his instrument and was revered, not only by percussionists, but by all who had the privilege of sharing a stage with him.