A 50-year veteran leaves the Chicago Symphony

A 50-year veteran leaves the Chicago Symphony


norman lebrecht

August 19, 2022

Assistant Principal Oboe Michael Henoch, hired by Georg Solti in 1972, has announced his retirement.

Also leaving the orchestra is bassoonist Dennis Michel, who joined in 1998.

The old Solti gang is thinning out.


  • Chicagorat says:

    I would not lose sleep over this. Richard Woodhams has a bus full of his protégés. He will dispatch them to his buddy Muti, who will then shove them down the throats of audition committee members, like he has done before. A real Italian Job to replenish the oboe section. All through blind auditions, Chicago style.

    Meanwhile, problems are brewing in the French horn section, as well. At least one very unhappy person over there 😉

  • Jim G says:

    We were sitting in class at Northwestern U when Michael came in 15 minutes late to say he had just won the CSO audition. I think it was Mozart 29

  • Axl says:

    Actually Dennis Michel has joined CSO in 1998 when Barenboim was chief conductor. William Buchman joined CSO as second bassoon in 1992 and promoted associate principal in 1996. Dennis Michael then succeseed him in 1998.

    But Henoch comes from Solti era and his wife is actually former CSO second flute Louise Dixon.

  • Plush says:

    Michael Henoch an outstanding player and leader. He has a lot of integrity personally and musically. Worthy successor to Ray Still.

    Comments by the rat are grossly partisan and completely uninformed. I good day him.

    • mk says:

      He wasn’t Still’s successor. Alex Klein was Still’s successor. Henoch was Assistant Principal alongside Still.

      • Plush says:

        Nonsense! Klein is a janitor compared to Henoch.
        Before Klein appeared, Michael Henoch carried on the tradition and playing style of Ray Still. I know (knew) all of those people.

        • mk says:

          Umm… OK, buddy. You keep grinding your axes…

          Fact of the matter remains that Henoch never was principal oboe of the CSO (except in an acting interim role while the orchestra was auditioning successors). Still’s successor in that seat was Klein, then Izotov and then Welter, not Henoch.

          And if janitors play like that, I’d happily listen to the Janitor Symphony Orchestra for the rest of my life…

          • Dan says:

            Yes – Michael has been a terrific acting principal during the many periods of turnover in the principal position, having provided a well needed, stabilizing force in the section. Fabulous musician, teacher, and colleague. The classical music world has been graced by the presence of such an irreplaceable, generational talent. I’m sure I speak for so many other CSO fans when I say thank you for so many beautiful playing moments over the years.

  • music lover says:

    Jay Friedman,83,is still there,as principal trombonist.He and harpist Lynn Turner joined the orchestra in 1962,under Fritz Reiner!!!!!

  • Kyle A Wiedmeyer says:

    The old Solti gang may be thinning out but the last remaining member of the Reiner gang, Jay Friedman, is still kicking! I was lucky enough to see the CSO perform Ein Heldenleben a few months ago and I consider myself to have been only three degrees separated from Richard Strauss, through his close friendship with Reiner.

  • Mike says:

    About time. His playing has been grossly (and I truly mean GROSSLY) subpar for at least 10 years. Intonation became optional to Henoch.

  • Timothy Dunne says:

    Hmmm, “the old Solti gang”…

  • Vasilios Kouis says:

    Golly gee. This read like a tabloid of the stars.