Stanley Drucker

The "King of Swing" took a sip, and a solid orchestra musician got the full taste of it -- it happened several times that a famous composer wrote a new piece for Jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman, who liked to venture into classical music. A few years later, a clarinetist by the name of Stanley Drucker would have his turn to make a recording of the piece. Wherever recordings of both clarinetists exist, this Drucker guy seems to do at least as well as his famous counterpart because he is completely focused on classical music. Around this time (Sept. 20), he is celebrating his 50th anniversary with the New York Philharmonic, the orchestra that Kurt Masur has conducted for the past seven years. Drucker's reputation has grown over the years. For instance, he is one of the very few orchestra musicians whose names are in the New Grove Dictionary of Music. When Drucker joined the Philharmonic at age 19, Bruno Walter was the music director. Since that time, he has played under conductors like Stokowski, John Barbirolli and Leonard Bernstein who promoted him to the position of principal clarinetist in 1960. By now, there are also composers who dedicate music to him. John Corigliano, one of the most successful American composers, wrote him a clarinet concerto 20 years ago. Georg Hirsch met with Stanley Drucker in New York.

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