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CSO’s legendary horn player Dale Clevenger to retire in June

Renowned horn player Dale Clevenger performs Concerfor Horn Orchestrby John Williams who also conducted Chicago Symphone Orchestra. The CSO performed

Renowned horn player Dale Clevenger performs the Concerto for Horn and Orchestra by John Williams who also conducted the Chicago Symphone Orchestra. The CSO performed the works of Williams' movie themes which in cluded the Themes from Schindler's List and "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial".

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Updated: March 21, 2013 6:29AM

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced Tuesday that Dale Clevenger, the orchestra’s principal horn since 1966, will retire June 30 after an unprecedented 47 years in the first chair. His retirement will take effect a week after the end of the current CSO season and two days before the Tennessee native turns 73.

One of the great teachers of the past 50 years as well, Clevenger will join the full-time brass faculty at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington in the fall. His mark is on the CSO’s own unmatched horn section — all of whose members were his students at one point or another — and on, at a minimum, the Berlin and New York Philharmonics and the Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Detroit, Minnesota and Houston symphony orchestras, where his students also hold tenured seats.

CSO music director Riccardo Muti, the sixth Orchestra Hall leader under whom Clevenger has played, said in a statement: “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. 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 was appointed principal horn by music director Jean Martinon in 1966 and made many great recordings under Georg Solti, Carlo Maria Giulini, James Levine, Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez and Daniel Barenboim.

The eventual auditions for the chair will draw a large and international pool of candidates, the vast majority of whom will at least have participated in workshops, seminars or coaching sessions with Clevenger.

Andrew Patner is critic at large for WFMT-FM (98.7).

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