One of the world’s legendary brass players is leaving the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Dale Clevenger announced through the orchestra on Tuesday that he will be stepping down on June 30 from his position as principal French horn, a post he will have held for a remarkable 47 years.
Clevenger, who will be 73 this year, served under four CSO music directors. Through his solo and ensemble work with the orchestra, and his distinguished leadership in the orchestra’s fabled brass section, he became, along with former principal trumpet Adolph Herseth, one of the prime architects of the orchestra’s trademark brass sound, powerful yet golden. He has been equally inspirational as a teacher and coach, nurturing the artistry and careers of countless young horn players.
Sadly, Clevenger’s rock-solid technical control, which in his heyday allowed him to take the most difficult passages in stride, slipped several degrees in recent years. The perception among colleagues, critics and audience members was that his playing had become unpredictable, firm one moment, faltering the next. But the shining totality of his musical achievement far outweighed the lapses of late-career.
Currently professor of horn at Roosevelt University, Clevenger this fall will become fulltime professor of practice in the brass department of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington.Copyright © 2015, RedEye