Dale Clevenger, longtime CSO principal horn, to retire June 30

February 19, 2013

Dale Clevenger

Dale Clevenger, the principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the past 47 years, will retire June 30.

Appointed by Jean Martinon in 1966, the 72-year old Tennessee native played under four music directors and two interim conductors throughout his long Chicago career.

Clevenger will join the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music brass department faculty as a full-time professor of practice in the fall of 2013.

“Dale Clevenger will remain in the world of music not only as a great horn player, but also as a true musician and dedicated teacher,” said CSO music director Riccardo Muti, in a statement released by the orchestra. “His unique contributions to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Principal Horn since 1966 leave a legacy that will forever be remembered and admired. I thank him for the music he has shared with me personally and I wish him great joy, peace and happiness as he begins a new chapter in his musical life, one I am sure will continue to enrich the musical world in innumerable ways.”

Clevenger soloed with the CSO 35 times on subscription concerts, as well as 23 times at the Ravinia Festival. In 2004 he performed in the world premiere of John Williams’ Horn Concerto, written for him.

Before joining the CSO in 1966, Clevenger was a member of Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air, directed by Alfred Wallenstein; he also served as principal horn of the Kansas City Philharmonic.

Clevenger undoubtedly stayed on several seasons too long with the decline in his musicianship fitfully marring CSO concerts in recent years.

Still, in his prime his reputation as one of the great orchestral horn players remains intact. His distinguished musical legacy will always be there for future generations on innumerable recordings, especially the Mahler symphonies under Sir Georg Solti for Decca and his set of Mozart Horn Concertos on Sony.

No announcement has yet been made about auditions for the position.

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