After 9 years, the NY Phil finds an English horn

After 9 years, the NY Phil finds an English horn


norman lebrecht

September 06, 2019

The New York Philharmonic has just appointed Ryan Roberts as English Horn player, succeeding Thomas Stacy, who retired in 2010…. That’s a helluva long time without a Dvorak 9.

Roberts, a former fellow of the New World Symphony, has performed with Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco Symphony and the Met.

Other new faces at the NY Phil are Associate Principal Flute Alison Fierst and violinists Dasol Jeong, Kyung Ji Min and Andi Zhang.



  • sam says:

    “That’s a helluva long time without a Dvorak 9”


    9 years is about the right amount of time, just like for the William Tell overture.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    Interesting that they have not advertised principal oboe or associate principal trumpet.

  • Alex Klein says:

    Well deserved. NY Phil is lucky to have him, easily one of the greatest oboe/EH talents of his generation.

  • FS60103 says:

    There’s always something faintly ridiculous when orchestras refuse to appoint key positions for years at a stretch. “It’s vital that we find exactly the right person” they say. But it can hardly be all that vital, if they can survive for the best part of a decade with an ever-shifting rota of deps…

  • drummerman says:

    “That’s a helluva long time without a Dvorak 9”

    To say nothing of the William Tell Overture, Franck D minor Symphony and the “Concierto de Aranjuez!”

  • NYMike says:

    During the past nine years, the NYP has had sub e-horn players with season-long contracts. Obviously, repertoire requiring e-horn got played including Dvorak #9.

  • Brian says:

    So they haven’t had even a temp or substitution in nine years? Or is it the headline, once again?

    Meanwhile, in Lucerne, musical history is being made as I write…

  • Art Serating says:

    And, for Principal Oboe???????????????

  • Patrick Valenzuela says:

    Supposedly the player in the photo is the new English Horn player who is holding an oboe, not English Horn. What gives?

  • Bill says:

    It’s no such thing, they have played it repeatedly in the last 5 or 6 years! 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 20!7 all had performances of the work. Just because they don’t have a permanent player the spot doesn’t mean they don’t program music that calls for an English horn…

  • NYCEHplayer says:

    I’m not really sure why you seem to be under the impression that there has been no English horn playing in the NYP in the last 9 years; several extraordinarily good people have sat in that seat and played concerts. To say “that’s a long time without a Dvorak 9” is so ridiculous it makes one wonder why anyone would take you seriously…

  • Minnesota says:

    Or the Swan of Tuonela. Thomas Stacy was regarded as the world’s best for many years and would be a hard act to follow.

  • Malcolm James says:

    Didn’t they appoint someone around 2013 or 2014 who didn’t get tenure? Let’s hope this works out better.

  • TRM says:

    Does the NY Phil audition process involve an “”artistic” committee”, or does the whole orchestra/section listen and vote?

  • axl says:

    The New York Phil is one of the most slowest orchestras – as when hiring new musicians. They got 7 years to hiring a new associate principal horn and an other 7 years to find/confirm permanent bass clarinet player. And there is lot’s of 3-5 year searchings e.g. principal second violin, associate principal flute and so own.

    • sam says:

      It’s the Google gig economy, baby.

      Why hire full time employees — with pension and health benefits and union headaches — when New York is full of talented musicians willing to get paid by the gig?

      It’s the future! Musicians as independent contractors to fullfil individual concert contracts.

  • Will Wise says:

    Congratulations to Mr Roberts and the NYPhil. But the orchestra has played the New World Symphony, Quiet City, and any number of works that require English horn with very capable musicians covering the part for the past nine years, and the crack about going without any EH coverage is not misleading and a disservice to their contributions over the past decade.

  • Cathleen knollenberg says:

    FANTASTIC news

  • Jasper says:

    Grace Shryock capably played EH for the NY Phil on many occasions since Thomas Stacy’s departure.

    Liang Wang (principal oboe) and Matthew Muckey (associate principal trumpet) were terminated one year ago. The reasons cited were vague (“misconduct”). It is my understanding that both dismissals went to arbitration. There has been a news blackout since then.

    Does anyone have current information re these two cases? Has either player gone to court for reinstatement? Has either player taken a position with some other orchestra?


  • Alison says:

    Interesting how the principal flutist’s students end up getting hired. Once Mindy leaves, I am sure one of his students will get that position as well.

    But at least the NY Phil now gives people the opportunity to audition. Years ago you had to be in the “in group” to even be invited to audition. To spend years studying at a top conservatory just to not be allowed to audition for an orchestral position is criminal in my mind. I thought unions were design to protect musicians from things like this. When I called the orchestra personnel manager to protest, he said, “Well this is a dream job and we are only inviting high level professionals, not recent graduates.” He was lying through his teeth because I know someone who was invited to audition yet she was still a BM student. Corruption like this can contribute to destroying lives.

    • Bill says:

      Well, if she was still a BM student, she wasn’t a recent graduate!

      One might reasonably expect (or at least not be surprised) that a teacher often turns out students who approach and play the music in a similar fashion. If you have a long-standing principal player who is the model for “how it should be done” in the ears of the audition committee, students who sound like a younger version of the teacher are going to have a bit of a natural edge, whether anyone intends it or not.

  • Mike McGuire says:

    Very old news Norman!! You should have been on this story months ago. It happened in May. Don’t say you hadn’t gotten the press release either! Waiting for official news has never stopped you before has it? You certainly need to cultivate more US sources.