Devoting his entire life to music
One of the longest-lasting performers in all of music, Stanley Drucker only recently retired from the New York Philharmonic, where he spent the previous 60 years. The official measurement of his career was 62 years, seven months, and one day - long enough to set the Guinness World Record for “Longest Career as a Clarinetist.” His parents gave him his first clarinet for his tenth birthday, and by age 16 he was already a symphony musician. Since then, his performances have seen generations come and go, and the New York Philharmonic become a world-renowned institution.
In honor of his 50th anniversary, and in recognition of his highly respected and widely acknowledged musical excellence and dedication, he was named Musical America’s 1998 Instrumentalist of the Year. He made approximately 190 solo appearances with the Philharmonic since joining it at age 19. The Philharmonic estimates that he performed in 10,200 concerts, which is approximately 70% of the total number of their concerts since 1842. He was Principal Clarinetist for a record 48 years, playing under 9 Music Directors, among them Bruno Walter, Dmitri Mitropolous, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez and Zubin Mehta. He performed in 60 countries on tour.
Mr. Drucker maintained an active solo career in addition to his Philharmonic duties, appearing with ensembles throughout the world. He has been twice nominated for Grammy Awards in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist/Classical with Orchestra: In 1992 for his recording of the Copland Concerto with the Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein, and in 1982 for John Corigliano’s Concerto with the Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta. Mr. Drucker is featured on a number of other Philharmonic recordings: under the direction of Leonard Bernstein in Debussy’s Premiere Rapsodie; in Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto; and in the world-premiere live performance (1977) of the Corigliano Clarinet Concerto, which is a part of the Orchestra’s acclaimed CD box set, The Historic Broadcasts: 1923-1987. Mr. Drucker’s other recordings include New York Legends: Recitals with Principals from the New York Philharmonic; Schumann’s Complete Works for Winds and Piano; the Mozart Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A, K.581, and a new two-CD set of the two clarinet sonatas, Trio in A minor, and Quintet in B minor of Johannes Brahms entitled Drucker Plays Brahms. He is also heard on the world-premiere broadcast of William Bolcom’s Clarinet Concerto, part of the New York Philharmonic Special Editions’ boxed set, An American Celebration.
Mr. Drucker began clarinet studies at age ten with Leon Russianoff, his principal teacher, and later attended the High School of Music and Art and the Curtis Institute of Music. He was appointed Principal Clarinetist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at age 16, the Adolf Busch Chamber Players at age 17, and the Buffalo Philharmonic at age 18. He has the distinction of being one of the few living orchestral musicians whose biography appears in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.