LA Phil loses star clarinet after 54 years

LA Phil loses star clarinet after 54 years


norman lebrecht

July 08, 2015

We hear that Michele Zukovsky is to retire from the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra five days before Christmas – and that will be a farewell party worth attending.

Michele joined the orchestra aged 18 on September 9, 1961, playng alongside her father Kalman Bloch and eventually succeeding him as principal clarinet. Jascha Heifetz was a cousin on her mother’s side. Michele is orchestra royalty, not easily replaced.

Auditions for a successor will be held in October. Meantime, Michel joins the Slipped Disc list of the world’s longest serving orchestral players at #20.




  • PaulD says:

    What a great run! Congratulations to her.

    I probably saw her at the first classical concert that I went to, back in 1971.

  • MacroV says:

    She is one of the greats, and to my knowledge the only American orchestral clarinetist to play a German-system clarinet.

  • harold braun says:

    Great lady!

  • chris says:

    Michele goes out as strong and musical as ever. She will be missed.

    A friend of mine did some math and came up with this amazing fact:
    Michele’s father Kalman Bloch joined the LAPO in 1937 when he was hired by Otto Klemperer, he was 23 at the time. Michele joined her father in 1961 and has been in the Orchestra ever since. A Bloch (Kalman and or Michele) has been a Principal or Co-Principal Clarinetist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1937-2015!!
    That’s 78 years in the same family!

  • M2N2K says:

    She may be 20th by longevity, but she should be ranked much higher among orchestral musicians who lasted that long, if the fact that even now, after 54 stellar years, the quality of her playing remains consistently superb – is taken into consideration.