Chicago horn is denied tenure

Chicago horn is denied tenure

News

norman lebrecht

December 07, 2022

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has unofficially confirmed that the reason behind its audition for a new principal horn is that the incumbent, David Alan Cooper, has been refused tenure.

Cooper is an outstanding soloist and a kindly human being who had a season as #1 with the Berlin Philharmonic. He was also principal horn with the Dallas Symphony for six years.

But Chicago is Chicago. It’s a tough town.

Comments

  • Stockton the 3rd says:

    Maybe he had words with Muti? He is reputed to be an excellent player. I have never heard him play. I do know that you don’t want to get on Muti’s bad side.

    • sammy says:

      Or maybe Cooper had issues, because Berlin also denied him tenure after a year getting to know him, and New York turned him down before even giving him an appointment on the grounds that he refused to blend in with the section, so Chicago just makes three, Chicago is no tougher than Berlin or NY, they are just tougher than Dallas, s’all.

      • Old Man in the Midwest says:

        Why should a principal blend into a section?

        Principals are supposed to have a solo voice and the section should blend with the principal NOT the other way around.

        Following a legend like Clevenger is always hard.

        Better to pull the sword from the stone after many have fallen by the wayside.

      • Sara K. says:

        Sammy–correctamundo. He tries to be like M. Eric Ruske. Same mannerisms etc. However, the problem is and was, blending. Not independent playing, charismastic showmanship-like many USians etc.

      • Sara K. says:

        can he go back to Dallas? Maybe that’s best for him to support himself ?

  • Paracelsus says:

    If I am not mistaken, Max Raimi on this site explained to us that, out of his good heart, Muti will continue to “help out” with auditions even after he is done as music director.

    Truly fantastic. Will this piece be mandatory in the auditions?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWqKPWO5T4o

  • MacroV says:

    It’s kind of shocking, given how he seemed to be the man to beat for every big horn vacancy. And he eventually got the two biggest.

    Well, there are a number of big principal horn vacancies now – Boston (they haven’t replaced Sommerville, have they?), New York, Montreal, others?

    • Axl says:

      In Montreal, orchestra’s 2nd horn Catherine Turner wins John Zirbel’s principal seat earlier this year but I’m not sure that when she will starting as in her new role

      • Emil says:

        She is already listed on the website as principal horn. About time, too, the OSM’s been without a principal horn for almost 10 years.
        They still have two positions open, though I believe they’ve already held auditions for them.

    • Phil says:

      Opera North, Leeds UK

    • Anderson Bannard says:

      The BSO gave notice of horn auditions in July but it was only more recently in November that it was formalized that Jaime was retiring effective basically immediately. To my ear, his playing has sounded more and more tentative over the past few years. That said, I thought he was wildly underrated as a player and I will sorely miss the thoughtfulness and maturity of his playing. I would be intrigued if Cooper landed the BSO trial. Again, not sure what his weaknesses are purported to be but I have heard off the record there is friction between he and RM.

      • Sara K. says:

        Likely the Beanotown selects him for a trial period; however, he seems to be bouncing around, and cannot blend and.or play well in the sandbox. Too much mannerisms and happy charisma can only get one so far. Maybe more focus musicality. It’s the u tubes orchestra anymore.

    • Sara K. says:

      Not “shocking” at all. He cannot blend in and needs to be the charismatic USian. He blew 2 big spots already, and New Yawker Phil said, no thanks. It’s no Chicago being a “tough” city, it’s reality of who Dave is and was.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    Did he work well with the section? Someone with reliable gossip needs to spill. There must be a reason why Cooper is on a world tour of the great orchestras. There was a dust up in Dallas within the section, as I recall.

  • Ich bin Ereignis says:

    The orchestra world is a truly paradoxical microcosm that quite often defies reason, and tenure is no exception. In my opinion, getting tenure in an orchestra is much more often a question of politics than of talent. In fact, talent may, in many cases, prove to be a true hindrance towards getting tenure. There are scores of mediocre players who do get tenure as they understand how to navigate the social game, bow to the hierarchical order, carefully avoid rocking the boat and — most importantly — not threaten those higher titled players whose status might suddenly be jeopardized by the arrival of better talent. An orchestra is a highly insular, often to the point of sheer toxicity, hierarchical body. It is also the last forum and opportunity for many musicians, most of which are often highly accomplished, to feel somehow powerful and obtain some sort of narcissistic satisfaction in an otherwise overall sense of frustration. Denying tenure to a highly talented musician can prove to be the ultimate power trip. The paradox is that those who deny tenure, more often than not, cannot hold a candle musically to those whose tenure is being denied, although lack of self-awareness will most likely prevent reaching such insight. Some orchestra musicians, whose playing more often than not is rather ordinary, suddenly reveal themselves to be demanding, finer musical gourmets who are simply impossible to satisfy, seemingly always able to find some sort of fault with a player’s musicianship, personality, or whatever rationale might be used in justifying the decision to deny tenure. I hope this player does find the place he deserves, as I suspect he will.

    • observer says:

      …which is why more often than not an orchestra grows its talent by the music director using his/her position to overrule the old naysayers in the orchestra. When there are scores of principals leaving, positions staying open for years and talented new hires being denied tenure, it is a sign of a power vacuum (or disinterest) at the top.

    • Toby says:

      “In my opinion, getting tenure in an orchestra is much more often a question of politics than of talent. In fact, talent may, in many cases, prove to be a true hindrance towards getting tenure.”

      Let me guess. You didn’t get the job?

    • Jobim75 says:

      There is already all this plus all the new criteria of our “awake”era…..

    • Alexander Hall says:

      The Berlin Philharmonic memorably refused to endorse Karajan’s candidate Sabine Meyer for the position of principal clarinet. She is of course one of the greatest players of her instrument.

      • MacroV says:

        I’m not sure why that’s relevant here, other than to say lots of great players don’t get tenure.

        Sabine Meyer is unquestionably a great player, but there are and were (at that time) a lot of great clarinet players. I’m not sure who got the position instead, though I think she might have been pegged to replace Karl Leister who ended up staying another decade.

    • sammy says:

      Am I surprised this bitter comment got 100 up votes?

      How comforting indeed it would be for every musician who failed to get tenure, or who failed an audition, to know that, really, he is more brilliant than the 100 other musicians in the orchestra, that he failed because of reasons other than musical ones.

      Failed musicians of the world ought to unite and form their own, by definition superior, orchestra, since failure is the very mark of unappreciated brilliance.

      • Ich bin Ereignis says:

        I think your idea of creating an orchestra made up of failed auditionees/failed tenured members is just brilliant. Not only would it be great marketing, but you might actually be shocked at how well that orchestra might sound, made up of all the great players that are routinely rejected by the audition process. Have you heard some of the youth orchestras these days? Some of them easily rival well-established professional orchestras, as on top of sheer talent they also bring to the table this spontaneous enthusiasm and idealism that is sorely lacking in so many major orchestras. A “failure orchestra” might actually bring a breath of fresh air in today’s sterile, perfection-obsessed musical culture — a little bit like orchestras used to be about 50 years ago, when individual members may not have had the kind of flawless, error-free playing that could withstand today’s cutthroat audition culture, and yet the overall result in some cases remains legendary to this day, as evidenced by some of the recordings we still have.

        But in all seriousness, there is much less bitterness in my comment that you surmise — just a few decades’ experience as a tenured member of a major professional orchestra to have slowly come to understand how this profession actually works. Your assumption that these important decisions are based on fairness, logic and rationality is just naive. They are, on the contrary, often subject to utterly subjective factors as well as non-musical factors, such as liking or not liking someone’s personality. Conformity, both musical and personal, may get one quite far in the orchestra world, while any sort of individuality will flash a red flag. You do have to play competently to have and keep the job, but the reverse isn’t true — just because you play well, or even extremely well, doesn’t mean you’ll get or keep the job, and should you show any sort of musical individuality or “play too well” (a phrase I actually heard during an audition process), you may not get the job, and in case you do get it, you may very well not be able to keep it.

        • sammy says:

          The problem is tenure itself.

          Judges need tenure for freedom from political pressure, professors need tenure for freedom of expression, what on earth do musicians need tenure for?

          If musicians are like athletes, then they should be let go when they can no longer play at the highest level: that would guarantee that the best musicians are indeed the ones who remain on the job.

          Tenure for musicians is a creation of unions as a barrier to entry into the marketplace.

          Get rid of tenure and open up the market to annual auditions for every position.

          • Pat says:

            Sammy…. If we were paid like top athletes your argument might be valid. Musicians need to earn a living for their working lives not cast aside like garbage.

          • Jennifer says:

            Seriously? Musician could possibly afford to live life like that? People need a job security. Even musicians. That is ridiculous proposition.

        • Tony says:

          “…just a few decades’ experience as a tenured member of a major professional orchestra..”

          Your bitter comment comes across as someone rejected for a more senior internal position.
          And one can imagine why – in all the verbage it’s clear you have no idea what actual talents and myriad other qualities are needed for those positions.

        • Prof says:

          of course, a Failure Orchestra would play with probably fewer Fehlers than the established groups

        • Infidel says:

          Before retiring from the orchestra biz, one of my duties was running auditions (40 years worth). I once told the MD that we should choose the person who comes in as runner-up, because that person very often was the more musical candidate. Technical perfection is almost by definition not musical, and it may move intellects, but not hearts. But it does win auditions. This is the curse of the modern orchestra.

          This is why my tastes run to the former Soviet bloc ensembles, and to American and European orchestras from the past.

        • Barry Guerrero says:

          There’s little point in trying to explain your factual thoughts to armchair listeners, Ereignis. They always seem to know more than conductors, managers, players, ushers – everyone. They’re experts on politics and science too.

    • CSOattendee says:

      Excellent post. This is =exactly= what’s going on in Chicago. The old guard cling to some imaginary and long vanished past standard. Add to the mix the “somebody else’s castoff” factor and it no longer matters that DC is just wonderful every damn night.

      • observer says:

        There are so many with so much power who are so long past their sell-by-date. US orchestras really need mandatory retirement age like in Europe.

  • John Kelly says:

    Wonderful player, unfathomable decision. I heard him play with the BPO live and he has a fantastic sound, playing an Alex and in Chicago they all play on Lewis horns (not my preference as a listener but really good in the lower register, e.g. Shostakovith 5 first movt). So Mr. Cooper has fantastic chops playing horns these orchestras prefer. Would love to understand what’s going on. Incidentally first horn is open at the NYPO they could do a lot worse…..I don’t know if Muti has anything to do with this. I know he didn’t like Kaderabek in Philly. I loved him!

    • NYMike says:

      Kaderabrek was not a good fit for Philly as a replacement for Gil Johnson. His successor David Bilger was a great fit who’s now retired. Muti wasn’t the only one in Philly who didn’t like Kaderabek’s playing.

      • John Kelly says:

        Ormandy liked him. I liked him. He was there for a long time. A sound with character. A vibrato to rival Voisin. Bilger is desperately uninteresting as first trumpet and I await his replacement with interest…….

        • Stockton the 3rd says:

          I heard students in Philly bad mouthing Kaderabek shortly after he got the job in Philly. I heard him play a few times in Carnegie Hall. He played a memorable Sinfonia Domestica, nailing all of the high Cs. You could recognize his playing after one or two notes. They called him “Iron Lips” in Philly. He could play for sure. He was a very different player than Gil Johnson, who was also an amazing player. Muti didn’t like Kaderabek, and tried in vain to get him fired. Imagine going to work every day knowing that the boss was doing everything he could to fire you.

      • Robin Mitchell-Boyask says:

        Kaderabrek was also reluctant to retire and had to be forced out by Sawallisch as part of a general clearing needed by Muti’s negligence.

      • phf655 says:

        David Bilger is a trumpet player. David Kaderabek was the principal trumpet in Philadelphia until 1995, I unfortunately do not remember him. According to wikipedia, he would have been 66 years old when he left the orchestra. The principal horn of the Philadelphia is currently listed as Jennifer Montone – wonderful. About a month ago she was sitting in at the NYPO during Jaap’s performances of Bruckner 7, and I believe listed in the program as ‘guest principal horn’ so I wonder if something might be going on there too.

        • Barry says:

          I’ve never been happy with her as principal and would welcome the NYP snagging her.

          • CSOattendee says:

            I’ve been hoping to get to NYC to see the Phil sometime soon. Guess it will need to be before this happens– don’t like her style at all.

    • Solene says:

      Maybe he wasn’t awake enough for the WASP audience?

  • Tom says:

    How unfortunate that internal personnel matters become the subject of public discussion, even clickbait.

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    “My current orchestra is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra […]. But the Vienna Philharmonic is the orchestra of my life.”

    Riccardo Muti, quoted by Die Zeit.

  • J says:

    After more than 3 years!?

  • Robert Holmén says:

    I have heard Cooper in person at numerous Dallas Symphony Orchestra concerts. I particularly recall being just a few rows from the stage when they did the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings and seeing him turn completely purple as he nailed sky high notes out of nowhere.

    Terrifying to watch! He did great at that.

    He even came to the pre-concert lecture to demonstrate a few notes. It’s rare for soloists to interrupt their pre-game routine for us civilians.

    However, when solo passages came up in Brahms or Bruckner or Tchaikovsky or other conventional literature I felt that his sound didn’t have the smooth quality that we like for such purposes. He was always accurate, with none of the burbled entrances that had become a problem for his predecessor, but it was a coarser and edgier tone with no clear advantage acquired from being so.

    I’m sure he will land on his feet after this setback, none-the-less.

    • Guest says:

      I also heard him in person once, in a masterclass setting. His tone was, to my ears, a bit coarse.

      • Sara K. says:

        but he’s very charismatic, pc, engaging, “positive” and smiles alot. that’s what matter to most USians.

      • Rafael Enrique Irizarry says:

        Coarse, you say? I have to smile and give you a knowing wink. Back in the early 1980s, some wayward, penitent soul in the Indiana University School of Music wrote this graffiti in a practice studio wall: “Dale Clevenger sounds like a bull moose in heat.” (I wish I had known then how to erase it, with prejudice.) The sheer idiocy and parochialism of it all, I say. I have heard enough masterclasses to know that the impression these colossal instrumentalists make on you up close is completely different from the one you can gauge in a hall as they play within the orchestra. Due respect, esteemed reader: Mr. Cooper’s playing can perhaps be many things, but not coarse.

        • Brad says:

          So true. If the sound is beautiful and mellow up close, odds are it will be weak and underpowered out in the hall. Clevenger talked about that once with an interviewer regarding Arnold Jacobs. The interviewer commented that the tuba sound up close was quite rough, and Dale replied that it was just the delivery mechanism Jacobs used to get the sound energy to every corner of the room.

          • CSOattendee says:

            I’d be careful taking anything written here at face value. I hear Mr. Cooper close and far and in-between quite frequently, and he sounds great. I can’t imagine what sort of “rough” or “course” quality might be referenced here…. wild guess that maybe his old Geyer couldn’t completely handle what he was trying to put through it. Are there any particular recordings where this can be heard?

        • Daniel Cano says:

          I had a lesson with my horn teacher about a month ago and he taught me this concept using Clevenger as an example. “During all my lessons Clevenger sounded like a *#%# trumpet up close, then the same night I’d go hear him in the concert hall… Huge from a distance” A common quality among the sounds of great players is this “gritty” quality that is able to carry to the last row. You can play for yourself and sound pretty but it won’t sell when you play in the hall!! Back to practicing

  • Alexander says:

    I can’t believe this. A great player.

  • DSO sub says:

    He is JVZ’s wunderkid and will soon be in Vienna.

    • sammy says:

      JVZ tried installing him in NY, but NY balked.

    • mr oakmount says:

      The VPO play on early 19th century style single horns with an f crook. Might be a bit of a culture shock ….

      • observer says:

        “DSO sub” is speaking about the Vienna *Symphony*, not Philharmonic, where JvZ seems to have an upcoming extended gig.

      • Barry Guerrero says:

        In the Philharmoniker, yes. In the Symphoniker, they are not bound to the Vienese single F horn. Same for the radio orchestra (Marin Alsop)

    • Sara K. says:

      Not likely. Also, He did some PR stunt with Berlin a few years back back some westerner themed cowboy music to welcome him to the philharmonic with thumbs ups, and back shlaps, etc.etc. now he’s gone there <1 year, and after gonzo from Chicagos, where next? Beanotown? Maybe less skits, silly interviews etc. and more musicianship and having an authentic personality.

      • observer says:

        There was no cowboy music and no PR stunt from them whole orchestra. Just an informal video on social media from the Berlin Phil horn section.

        • Sara K. says:

          Incorrect Sir, Madame—Yes, there was cowboys music silly skit of him rising from shipping crate box and playing some cowboy music with a cowboy hat. The song was Elmer Bernsteins « Magnificents Seven. »

  • MamaMia says:

    The brass and winds in chicago have a very specific and detailed tradition of how they shape notes, balance, blend, articulate, etc.
    He may be a fantastic player who’s not be able to adapt his playing to match the cso approach. It’s not always nefarious backstabbing and ego stuff that people on here like to speculate about.

    • CSOattendee says:

      Totally true, if this were 20 years ago. The brass is not great now… about 1 in 3 shows is ruined for me by the back row either not being with the rest of the orchestra or just being acontextually loud (and even waaay out of tune.) Cooper is the best thing that’s happened to the orchestra in the last 10 years in my opinion.

  • retired yacker says:

    Heard him flub some important solos. Not impressed. Been spoiled by Gingrich.

    • Hornet says:

      Really. why doesn’t Gingrich step up to first horn chair if he’s so great.
      Gingrich can only dream of playing like DC. Maybe DC is not willing to kiss the ring like many of his colleagues.

      • Rafael Enrique Irizarry says:

        Please leave Mr. Gingrich out of this. The remark is abusive and vicious. Please show some respect, sir. (BTW: I do not know Mr. Gingrich except by his stellar, rightfully earned, PROFESSIONAL reputation.)
        And I sign my name under this posting…

      • CSOattendee says:

        These comments are an interesting mix of “maybe this person actually knows something” and “dead wrong.” The notion that either Dan or David “flub” anything on a regular basis is just not based in this reality. As to “why doesn’t Dan just step up”- he did, filled the principal chair as acting principal for years before David came on board, and did a great job, all the while not really wanting it. At this point I don’t see him stepping in as acting principal again. We’ll probably get to hear the other section members and a series of guests in the hotseat, which is a bit of silver lining, but those of us who attend regularly and aren’t just operating on 3rd hand info are very sad about the possibility of David leaving.

        • John says:

          Mr Gingrinch was amazing. He’s fantastic and should be the pinnacle of horn playing. He’s a sweet, nice man who does his best. We need to be very respectful of musicians because they can touch our lives and deaths. The horn solos were beautiful and touching, heartfelt like Mahler and Berg. Thank you.

      • Iknowwhatiamsaying says:

        Mr Gingrich is a fan of Cooper, you should know

  • Brian says:

    David Cooper has one of the best horn sounds that I have ever heard. This will probably come as heresy to some, but he is a better all-around performer than Dale Clevenger. A sad state of affairs that he did not receive tenure.

  • Jeffrey Olson says:

    Chicago has always been weird. With conductors and personnel. Non musicians on the board maybe, but in this case it must me within the orchestra. If you are loved you are in. I believe Bud Herseth 1st and only pro job. Maybe Dale Clevangers memory is too fresh. Its nice when they all get along, but not required. Its a vital position with the rep they are famous for. Good luck to everyone.

  • mr oakmount says:

    Since the Vienna Philharmonic got a mention:
    In the VPO if you win a trumpet audition as a youngster (technically, for the State Opera Orchestra), you get sandwiched between the principal (middle-aged, at their peak) and the old one (beyond their prime, but remembering the tricks, traditions and pitfalls).
    When the old one retires, the middle-aged one becomes the old one, and the youngster, having proven themselves, now familiar with the repertoire as well as the style, become the principal.
    Result: The orchestra keeps its sound.
    Most other orchestras: Someone with bags of talent gets the principal post with zero experience and either forces his style on the rest of the gang or gets forced out. Result: Either the orchestral sound changes massively with each new principal or (more likely nowadays), everyone has to sound the same to be able to be widely usable.
    It’s probably clear where my preferences lie.

    • CSOattendee says:

      This is an interesting post and in terms of Chicago probably applies well to the trumpet situation– but there is nothing too far out of the “Chicago Sound” in Cooper’s playing. If anything, he’s a bit uncovered (which is my preference) but that fits the German tradition that the orchestra espouses perhaps better than some others who have recently sat in that seat.

    • observer says:

      @oakmount,

      Major European orchestras have two equal co-principals (and, like, three or four co-concertmasters!), so you can do the thing you describe. US orchestras don’t have the budget and therefore don’t have the roster to field two co-principals for any instrument. You have a principal and an associate or assistant principal, who more often than not isn’t on the superstar level of the principal.

      • MacroV says:

        Yeah. I often wish US orchestras would get rid of assistant/associate principals and just have co-principals. As it is the assistant principal basically plays the pieces with no real action – oompah concerto accompaniments, overtures, etc.. Or 3rd in a big piece. Not much of a life. At least in the clarinets the position is also the Eb player.

  • HornTime says:

    Winning an audition (preparing and perfecting excerpts)/being nice/having a good sound is a feat in itself, but playing the job/sight reading well/playing well in a section with others/having the ability to be able to focus and stay in the right place on the job are different skills that are crucial in an orchestra. Outside people may not notice those internal skills, so sometimes it’s best to trust the music director and colleagues to know what fits best within their orchestra.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I have a question for you true horn aficionados. Could this have anything to do with David Cooper’s switch from an Alexander horn (Berlin), to a Geyer horn (Chicago)? . . . It must take some time to get used to that switch. In Berlin, pretty much everybody in the orchestra moves around all over the place (I find them distracting to watch). In Chicago, not so much (and especially the horns). Could these tendencies have much to do with this? . . . I’m asking purely out of curiosity.

    • Infidel says:

      I think Geyer (or, that style) is his original horn and the Alex was the one he had to adapt to. For my ears, I liked the way he sounded on the Alex better. But that’s what I play, so it would sound better to me.

    • CSOattendee says:

      No, he had Geyer before, and he’s had his Lewis (the Geyer style that he’s laying now) since 2013 or so. It’s all on his blog and Youtube channel. He currently moves a little more than most American players, likely a habit he picked up in Germany to some extent. His playing in Chicago has been consistently top-notch— he’s easily above the level of most of the orchestra presently.

  • Andrew Clark says:

    David Cooper is world class. He will end up somewhere and that ensemble and horn section will be all the better for it

  • Brad says:

    To add insult to injury, the orchestra put the principal horn from the National Symphony in David’s chair at this week’s concerts. The same goes for the principal viola’s chair, but the difference is that post is and has been vacant for some time now.

    • CSOattendee says:

      Ooh, now I wish I would have gone. Wasn’t feeling like I needed to hear the Bartok and the Tchaik yet again. So we’re talking about Abel Pereira? Did he actually play an Alex with CSO?

  • T says:

    Ignorant orchestra goer here: what implications does being denied tenure have for the musician? Do they automatically need to think about finding another job?

    • Old Man in the Midwest says:

      yes

    • CSOattendee says:

      In this particular case, the tenure decision came at the end of the 2021-2022 season and it was agreed that Mr. Cooper would stay on for the 2022-2023 season. It means he would have to reaudition and win the job again to again be considered for tenure.

      • John says:

        That’s great news. Oh wow. He can reapply and maybe get that position. We need him. We care about him. He needs our support during these times. Thank you.

        • CSOattendee says:

          I don’t know. I’d love to see him stay and get tenure, but also CSO would absolutely deserve it if he would unceremoniously bail rather than wait around for some 22 year old to unseat him.

  • John says:

    Opinion only–he was one of finest hornists in the world. RIght up there with Denis Brain, Kerry Thompson, and Osborne Mconanthy. What a pity that Chicago is now without a hornist. Where will he go next? Hopefully a orchestra that really appreciate his hard work and tenacity. Thank you.

  • Ricardo A. Hernandez says:

    I just heard him last week. There was one chipped note, but he seemed distracted. This might explain it.

  • Richard Mark Dynes says:

    Here’s the problem. Most interested parties believe that David Cooper is a Wonderful horn player and a Very likable person. But there is a disconnect here and NO ONE is doing a good job of Understanding or articulating this FACT. David Cooper is a Wonderful horn player … YES he is … but he isn’t one of the Best Artists in the History of Music

    FULL STOP

    Dale Clevenger is.

    I am aware that Dale Clevenger has SOMEHOW managed *after decades of EVIDENTLY irritating and feather-ruffling behavior* to represent himself as a 2nd rate Musical intellect who is Fundamentally a Hack .. and who happens to have physical gifts which allow him to sound so Very VERY Good on his instrument. I know this is a Part of Dale’s Reputation. To the extent that someone looks at Dale Clevenger THIS Way, I have ZERO respect for those people. Honestly, they don’t know crap from APPLESAUCE. Dale is one in a series of irreplaceable Principal Brass Players of CSO History who Have been replaced.

    The CSO is legitimately resigned to the fact that they are NOT going to end up with a Clevenger-Level-Talent on Principal Horn. They DO UNDERSTAND that it isn’t Likely AT ALL. And to add insult to injury, The CLEVELAND Orchestra ended up landing the ONLY generational talent on horn in the last few decades…. So -please believe me- The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is feeling Massive pain because of THIS neverending topic of discussion. Just understand ONE thing: They won’t settle for someone who is STILL not remotely at the same level as Vintage Dale Clevenger YET. David Cooper could get there But He isn’t there YET! David Cooper seems like Wonderful Horn Player AND Wonderful Person. He just isn’t close to Dale Clevenger Level Horn Playing yet……..

  • Richard Mark Dynes says:

    Seriously, check out the Brahms Trio with Clevenger, Barenboim and Perlman.

    Let’s be honest here; Even Dennis Brain couldn’t reach this level of musical understanding. And Dennis Brain was clearly one of the Great Artists of the 20th Century

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