Some good news for all of you fans of Michele Zukovsky: I received official confirmation on when the tenure of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Principal Clarinet will end, and it’s a little later than was originally thought. Her official retirement date will be December 31, 2015, with her final concert less than two weeks before that . . .
Sunday, December 20, 2015, 2pm
Cristian Măcelaru, conductor
Kirill Gerstein, piano
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2
RACHMANINOFF: Symphonic Dances
Since her official start date was September 9, 1961, that makes her time with the orchestra a whopping 54 years, 3 months, and 22 days, almost all of it as Principal.
Whew. Not the longest tenure in LA Phil history, but pretty damn close (e.g. I know Richard D. Kelley played in the bass section from 1955 until his death in 2013, a 57-year run). When compared to other prominent LA Phil musicians who were her colleagues, including former Principal 2nd Violin Harold Dicterow (1946-1996, 50 years), Principal Bassoon Frederick “Fritz” Moritz (1923-1970, 47 years), and Concertmaster David Frisina (1937-1978, 41 years), it’s truly astounding.
The biggest upside to this news: we get to hear her play in the acoustically awesome confines of Walt Disney Concert Hall before she leaves the orchestra. That said, even in the less-than-ideal sonic environment of the Hollywood Bowl, she sounded typically wonderful last night playing short solos in the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor by Borodin and Ravel’s Bolero, and it’s clear she could continue playing at an extremely high level for longer if she wanted.
Without a doubt, she’s going out with style and class. In the meantime, we still have a few more months to relish her musicianship. Don’t blow the opportunity.
Photo credit: courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic