Dale Clevenger to retire from CSO this June; let the speculation begin about who could possibly fill his shoes
February 19, 2013 5 Comments
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced this morning that Dale Clevenger, their renowned Principal Horn since 1966, will be retiring from the orchestra on June 30 of this year (read the official CSO press release HERE). This comes right on the heels of Indiana University announcing that he will join the Jacobs School of Music as “professor of practice” beginning this fall.
Mr. Clevenger, together with Adolph “Bud” Herseth (Principal Trumpet, 1948-2001) and Jay Friedman (Principal Trombone, 1962-current), has helped to create the iconic brass sound for which the CSO has become world-famous. For most of his career, he has been known for playing with a rare combination of power, warmth, and precision.
For the past few seasons, however, he has been the subject of increased scrutiny for refusing to step down despite recurring instances of what many critics described as sub-par playing — sub-par not just for Mr. Clevenger, but for any principal horn. As recently as this past December, reports emerged about potential behind-the-scenes activities at the CSO to get him to step down.
Now that this announcement has been made, the orchestra can spend the rest of the season preparing appropriate tributes to him to honor his distinguished tenure instead of allowing all of the lingering negativity to fester. Despite the very legitimate criticism about his playing of late, Mr. Clevenger certainly deserves the boatload of praise that will be coming his way.
Of course, with this announcement will also come speculation about who may potentially be able and willing to take his place. Just for proverbial grins, let me be among the first to toss a name out for your consideration: William Caballero.