Philadelphia violinist quits after 56 years in the job

Philadelphia violinist quits after 56 years in the job


norman lebrecht

October 10, 2016

Herb Light played his final session with the Philadelphia Orchestra last week.

He has been with them since 1960, at once point serving as assistant concertmaster. He was previously with the Baltimore Symphony.

Herb is married to Yocheved Kaplinsky, the Julliard piano department chair.


He is among the top 20 longest serving players with any single orchestra.


  • Nancy Shear says:

    Herb is not only a fine musician but a deeply dedicated one. I’ve known him since the 1960s when I worked in the Philadelphia Orchestra library, and have always heard him talk about the greatness of the orchestra and the privilege of making music. It will be strange today not to see him on the stage of Carnegie Hall playing with the Orchestra, or at Verizon Hall. All of us in the biz hope he’ll reap endless rewards for serving music so beautifully!

    • Stanley Slome says:

      I I remember him as a star for the Millville, New Jersey, High School basketball team,in the 1950s in a game at Vineland High. I was a reporter then for the Vineland Times-Journal. In 1997 when The Philadelphia Orchestra came to Costa Mesa, California, for a
      concert under Wolfgang Sawallisch, I got to chat with Herb about those days at intermission. Herb comes from the same town as possibly the greatest position player
      in Major League Baseball, Mike Trout ..

  • Leonid Keylin says:

    Norma Durst Violist with Seattle Symphony for 56 years Retired in 2004

  • Albert Filosa says:

    I think violist Marilyn Stroh (of the MET Orchestra in NYC) has probably been a member
    there for at least fifty years, but I don’t have any way of confirming that. I have been attending MET performances for many decades, and she has been a fixture there for as far back as I can remember. I understand that she is still a highly respected member of their viola section, and has on occasion moved into the principal chair, performing beautifully in that capacity. I noticed that she was seated in third chair during the simulcast of Tristan last Saturday.

  • Don Drewecki says:

    Herb Light is part of WMHT-TV’s documentary special on the 50th anniversary of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in upstate New York, where the Philadelphia Orchestra has played annually since 1966. His segment starts at about 24 minutes into the program.

  • musiclover232 says:

    interesting choice of words for the headline. I’ve never heard someone call a retirement (particularly after so many years) quitting. Additionally, the author has misspelled both his wife’s name, and the name of the school where she teaches. Regardless, kudos and well done to Mr. Light!