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Musical Chairs: New Orchestral Appointments

Chairs and notes on the orchestra stage waiting for the audience.

Chairs and notes on the orchestra stage waiting for the audience.

Chairs and notes on the orchestra stage waiting for the audience.

Chairs and notes on the orchestra stage waiting for the audience.

An orchestra is more than the sum of its parts – but no orchestra is truly great without stellar individual musicians.

Sometimes an orchestra is fortunate enough to have the same talented musicians play in it for many years. Adolph “Bud” Herseth, for example, served as the Chicago Symphony’s principal trumpet for 53 years.

Today, Michele Zukovsky, longtime principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, made headlines when her departure from the orchestra was announced. Zurovsky has played for the ensemble for 53 full seasons, serving as the principal chair for 33 of them.

More often, though, orchestra ranks look something like a game of musical chairs. Musicians come and go constantly, leaving when offered a more desirable position elsewhere.

Not long ago, it was announced that the New York Philharmonic’s associate principal clarinet and solo E-flat clarinet, Mark Nuccio, will leave the ensemble for a principal position at the Houston Symphony. And just today, news broke that the concertmaster of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Laurence Jackson, is departing for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Is there a favorite orchestra member you’ve lost to the musical-chair shuffle? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Eugene Izotov principal oboe from the Chicago Symphony going to San Francisco and Mathieu Dufour Chicago’s marvelous (former) principal flute going to BPO. On the other hand, Chicago swiped our new principal bassoon from Atlanta (his name escapes me). BTW, are we now all supposed to say, “bassoonist”? THe NYT style book apparently now only allows ugly terms like “hornist” never before even considered to be a real word.

  • Spencer Cortwright

    I agree with Izotov as a loss, but it’s not really a done deal…..he still may return. We’ll see…..