Stanley Drucker

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Stanley Drucker
Born(1929-02-04)February 4, 1929
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 19, 2022(2022-12-19) (aged 93)
Vista, California, U.S.
Years active1948–2009
Formerly of

Stanley Drucker (February 4, 1929 – December 19, 2022) was an American clarinetist. For nearly five decades, he was principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic. According to Guinness World Records, he achieved the longest career as a clarinetist. Drucker premiered the clarinet concerto by John Corigliano.


Born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 4, 1929,[1] of Russian-Jewish[2] ancestry, Drucker began clarinet studies at age ten with Leon Russianoff, and remained his student for five years.[3] He attended the High School of Music & Art (now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, at Lincoln Square). Although Drucker entered the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 15, he left after one year when he was recruited by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.[4] After a year, he worked with the Busch Little Symphony, organized by Adolf Busch.[4] He then became principal clarinetist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.[5]

In 1948, Drucker won a post in the New York Philharmonic clarinet section. In 1960, he became the orchestra's principal clarinetist,[6] where he remained for the duration of his career. His time with the New York Philharmonic included nearly 150 solo appearances with the orchestra. He gave the first performances of clarinet concerto by John Corigliano and William Bolcom, both of these commissions for the New York Philharmonic.[7] Drucker appeared on two recordings of the Corigliano Clarinet Concerto, a studio recording conducted by Zubin Mehta and a live recording of the 1977 premiere performance conducted by Leonard Bernstein.[8]

In January 2008, the New York Philharmonic announced Drucker's retirement from the orchestra at the close of the 2008–2009 season, for a total of 61 years with the orchestra and 49 years as its principal clarinet.[9] His final solo appearance with the orchestra was held in June 2009, in performances of the clarinet concerto of Aaron Copland.[10]


Drucker was highly regarded for his musicianship and his longevity of service with the New York Philharmonic, totaling 10,200 concerts,[3] such as expressed by Gustavo Dudamel in November 2007: "He's a legend. The history of the orchestra is in him."[11] In 2009, Lorin Maazel said: "He stands alone in the world of clarinetists. His contribution to the orchestra and its fame is immeasurable."[12]


Drucker was nominated for two Grammy Awards (1981, 1991).[13]

On June 4, 2009, Drucker was awarded a Guinness World Record for longest career as a clarinetist after his performance of Aaron Copland's Clarinet Concerto with the orchestra. Guinness thus logged his Philharmonic career at "62 years, 7 months and 1 day as of June 4, 2009".[5][14]

He was named honorary member of the New York Philharmonic, as the first orchestra musician honored.[12][15]

In 2010, Drucker received an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Florida.[16][17]

Drucker appears in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Drucker was married to Naomi Drucker, a former principal clarinetist of the North Carolina Symphony, music professor at Hofstra University, and co-founder and co-director of the American Chamber Ensemble.[18][19] They have two children, Leon, who is the double bassist for The Stray Cats under the stage name of "Lee Rocker",[20] and Rosanne, an alternative-country singer–songwriter.[1]

Drucker died in Vista, California, on December 19, 2022, at age 93.[1]


  • Corigliano, John; Drucker, Stanley; Mehta, Zubin; Barber, Samuel; Recorded Anthology of American Music, Inc; New York Philharmonic; DRAM (Online service) (2007), Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (in no linguistic content), New York, N.Y.: DRAM, OCLC 162129947
  • Copland, Aaron; Drucker, Stanley; Bernstein, Leonard; New Yorks Filharmoniske Orkester (1991), El salón México (in undetermined language), Hamburg: DGG, OCLC 874532992
  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus; Margalit, Israela; Drucker, Stanley; Robinson, Joseph; LeClair, Judith; Myers, Philip; Essex Quartet (2003), Clarinet quintet; Piano and wind quintet (in no linguistic content), London: Universal Classics, OCLC 993605030
  • Thomas, Edward; Gosling, Stephen; Drucker, Stanley; Yedidia, Ronn, Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (in no linguistic content), [Place of publication not identified]: Forte Recording Ltd, OCLC 906588192
  • Nielsen, Carl; Baker, Julius; Drucker, Stanley; Stern, Isaac; Bernstein, Leonard; Hindemith, Paul; New York Philharmonic (1993), Concerto for flute and orchestra ; Concerto for clarinet and orchestra, op. 57 (in no linguistic content), [Place of publication not identified]: Sony Classical, OCLC 37286414
  • Debussy, Claude; Ravel, Maurice; Bernstein, Leonard; Drucker, Stanley; Singer, Joseph; New York Philharmonic (1960), Images pour orchestre Rhapsody No. 1 for clarinet and orchestra (in no linguistic content), [London], [New York]: Sony Music Entertainment ; Sony Classical, OCLC 781147209
  • Bartók, Béla; Drucker, Stanley; Mann, Robert; Hambro, Leonid, Contrasts for violin, clarinet and piano Sonata for solo violin (in undetermined language), [New York (N.Y.)]: Bartók Records, OCLC 610629659


  1. ^ a b c Wakin, Daniel J. (December 20, 2022). "Stanley Drucker, Ageless Clarinetist of the N.Y. Philharmonic, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  2. ^ Shapiro, Amy Beth (May 2015). Sixty Years at the New York Philharmonic Through the Eyes of Clarinetist Stanley Drucker: An Oral History of the Philharmonic Community, 1948–2008 (PDF) (PhD dissertation). Stony Brook University. hdl:11401/76556. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 23, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2022. The year was 1948, and Stanley Drucker, the Brooklyn-born son of Jewish Russian immigrants, had just become, at age 19, the youngest member of the New York Philharmonic.
  3. ^ a b Wakin, Daniel J. (June 4, 2009). "Ending a 60-Year Gig at the N.Y. Philharmonic". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Geldrich, Peter M (November 4, 2020). A Legacy Preserved: A Comparison of the Careers and Recordings of Stanley Drucker and Karl Leister (DMA dissertation). Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Longest career as a clarinetist". Guinness World Records. December 21, 2022. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Weston, Pamela. "Drucker, Stanley". New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Vol. 5 (1980 ed.). Macmillan Publishers Limited. p. 639.
  7. ^ Kozinn, Allan (May 28, 1998). "Orchestra Celebrates Clarinetist's 50 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  8. ^ Kozinn, Allan (December 14, 1997). "Feasting on Six Decades of the Philharmonic's Past". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  9. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (January 11, 2008). "A Season for Big Works (and Two Grand Finales) at the Philharmonic". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  10. ^ Schweitzer, Vivien (June 5, 2009). "An Evening of Accolades for a Clarinetist". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  11. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (November 30, 2007). "The Kid's Got Energy. Now Watch Him Conduct". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  12. ^ a b "What's New: Latest News and Stories About The New York Philharmonic". The NY Phil Remembers Stanley Drucker (1929–2022). June 15, 2022. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  13. ^ "Stanley Drucker". September 30, 2022. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  14. ^ "NY clarinetist sets standard for Guinness record"., Pioneer Press. Associated Press. June 4, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  15. ^ Canarina, J. (2010). The New York Philharmonic: From Bernstein to Maazel. Amadeus Series. Amadeus Press. p. 417. ISBN 978-1-57467-188-9. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  16. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Honors & Awards | College of the Arts". College of the Arts, University of Florida. Retrieved December 24, 2022. 2010 Stanley Drucker, MusD Principal clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic; Holds Guinness World Record for 'longest career as a clarinetist.'
  17. ^ "College News" (PDF). Muse. College of Fine Arts, University of Florida. 5 (1): 9. Fall 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2022. Pictured with Director John Duff, Stanley Drucker received an honorary Doctorate of Music from University of Florida during the Spring Commencement Celebration. Mr. Drucker holds the world record for longest career as a clarinetist and served 61 years with the New York Philharmonic—49 years as its principal clarinetist.
  18. ^ Delatiner, Barbara (November 1, 1981). "The Clarinet Plays A Harmonious Role". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  19. ^ Delatiner, Barbara (March 26, 2000). "Clarinetists Are a Duo on Stage and in Life". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  20. ^ Paltrowitz, Darren (June 19, 2019). "The Stray Cats' Lee Rocker on His Music Career, leaving New York". Jewish Journal. Retrieved December 21, 2022.

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