Stanley Drucker Obituary, Principal Clarinetist of New York Philharmonic Dies At 93

Stanley Drucker Obituary, Death – Stanley Drucker, 93, longtime Principal Clarinetist of the NY Philharmonic has died on December 19, 2022, in Vista, California. Drucker began clarinet lessons at the age of ten with Leon Russianoff in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed with him for five years. He attended Music and Art High School (now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, at Lincoln Square). At the age of 15, Drucker enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music, but left after one year to join the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He began working with Adolf Busch’s Busch Little Symphony after a year. He later became the principal clarinetist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1948, the New York Philharmonic hired Drucker as a clarinetist. He was named principal clarinetist of the orchestra in 1960, a position he kept for the rest of his career. He made about 150 solo appearances with the New York Philharmonic over his career. He was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to perform the world premieres of clarinet concertos by John Corigliano and William Bolcom. Drucker recorded the Corigliano Clarinet Concerto twice: once in the studio with Zubin Mehta and once live at Leonard Bernstein’s premiere in 1977.

After 61 years with the orchestra and 49 years as its lead clarinet, Drucker announced his retirement from the New York Philharmonic in January 2008, at the end of the 2008-2009 season. In June 2009, he made his final solo appearance with the orchestra, performing Aaron Copland’s clarinet concerto. According to Gustavo Dudamel in November 2007, Drucker was hailed for his artistry and his long stint with the New York Philharmonic, which covered 10,200 concerts: “He is a true legend. He carries the history of the orchestra with him.” Drucker was awarded a Guinness World Record for the longest career as a clarinetist after performing Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the orchestra on Thursday, June 4, 2009. Guinness thus logged his Philharmonic career at “62 years, 7 months and 1 day as of June 4, 2009”.

In 2010, the University of Florida bestowed an honorary doctorate in music on Stanley Drucker.  Drucker was married to Naomi Drucker, a former North Carolina Symphony lead clarinetist and current Hofstra University adjunct assistant professor of music. Leon, the Stray Cats’ double bassist known as “Lee Rocker,” and Rosanne, an alternative-country singer-songwriter, are their offspring. Drucker was one of just a few living orchestral musicians whose biography was included in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.