Philadelphia parts from its first black musician

Booker Rowe started playing in the Philadelphia Orchestra 52 years ago as a sub and won full membership in 1971.

He’s retiring this week because the orchestra is paralysed by Covid.

Here’s his story.


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  • Or he could be retiring because he’s spent 52 years playing in a great orchestra and is probably approaching 80. No need for the barb there.

  • Paralyzed by COVID? Are you aware of what they’re doing these days, Norman? Sure, they’re not performing for live audiences as many European orchestras are, but they’re still broadcasting and keeping busy. Please keep the inflammatory language down and report the facts.

  • These veterans have such interesting stories… I think of all the famous musicians he performed with, it must have been incredible. All the best to Mr. Rowe in retirement.

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