Death of a New York maestro, 74

Death of a New York maestro, 74


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2018

We have received sad news of the death yesterday of Paul Dunkel, brilliant flute player, co-founder of the American Composers Orchestra and all-round live-wire.

After a solo career on the flute, Paul Dunkel became music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra and a busy guest conductor with a strong interest in contemporary music.

In 1978, Dunkel co-founded and picked the players for Dennis Russell Davies’s American Composers Orchestra. He acts as both manager and principal flute, later a resident conductor.

In 1983 he founded the Westchester Philharmonic, which he conducted until 2008. Since then he has been principal flute with New York City Ballet.


  • Larry says:

    He also commissioned and performed Melinda Wagner’s “Concerto for Flute, Percussion & Strings,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999.

  • Michael Boriskin says:

    As Founding Flutist of Music from Copland House, he was indispensable figure in the ensemble’s early successes and was featured on its first two CDs (complete Copland Chamber Music cycle and chamber works by Sebastian Currier. He was a devoted musical partner, dear and generous friend, formidable all-around musician, and an “idea machine,” whose performances were always brilliant and indelible. We’re heartbroken, and will miss him greatly.

    In all his glory in the Copland Duo:

  • David Schober says:

    Paul was a brilliant musician and innovative thinker. I’m so sorry to learn of his passing.

  • YoYo Mama says:

    Not quite. He was principal flute with the New York City Ballet Orchestra from before the 1980s. He was one of the most outstanding flutists in New York. I was there, I heard them all.

    • Susan V says:

      Andrew Lolya was principal then.
      (He was my teacher, my clarinetist father’s colleague at NYCB, and my friend.)

  • Sheila says:

    The Alumni and Friends of Music and Art Class of 1960 are devastated by our irreplaceable loss
    .Paul was a scholar
    generous elegant gentleman eith a scathing sense of humor and a unique wit . ..he adored life
    grand children…..

    a musical prodigy…


    Sheila L. Linder
    Music & Art Class of 1960

  • Rocco Di Pietro says:

    Sorry to hear about the death of Paul Dunkel,my condolences.He conducted my “Home Made Aria” at Fordham University and elsewhere.Many Thanks.Rocco Di Pietro.

  • Stan Weinstein says:

    A warm, loving, accomplished individual better than most in every respect. He is sorely missed by all who knew him.

  • Amy Z. Kornfeld says:

    I was shocked and devastated to learn of the passing of Paul Dunkel while attending a Westchester Philharmonic concert this past Sunday. As a subscriber to the Westchester Philharmonic for almost 30 years, my husband and I were privileged to get to know Paul and share many fun and stimulating conversations with him. One of the outstanding qualities we will always remember about him was his stellar and sharp wit. He will be sorely missed!!

  • Farnham Roberta Maxwell says:

    Yes.He was a “shining light” on his Podium with his colleagues, his friends and his family. He was loved. He will be missed.