I frequently ponder the length of my career. How long will I last? Will I hang it up before someone has to tell me “it’s time!”?

I’ve been playing professionally since 1975. 36 years isn’t anywhere near 69.

Meanwhile, there are those that have been playing professionally for over 60 years. WOW. Check out this blog entry by Norman Lebrecht. Here’s a few of the people and some years for you:

Violinist Francis Darger: Utah Symphony 1942 to 2011 – 69 years – current member
Bass: Jane Little, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – 1945 to 2011- 66 years – current member
Principal Timpanist Richard Horowitz: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra 1946 to 2011 – 65 years – current member
Violinist Felix Resnick: Detroit Symphony Orchestra – 1943 until his death in April 2008 at age 89. 65 years

… to read about more of these people, read the whole blog entry!

And notice: no oboists on the list. I blame the reed woes.


  1. Knowing when to “leave the party while you’re still having a good time” certainly varies with the individual.

    I can only hope that I am able to do this BEFORE anyone else suggests that I “leave”!

    I suspect that you’ve still got a few years of excellent playing ahead of you, Patty. 😉

  2. I suppose most of us worry about this sort of thing, eh?

    I had a deal with a colleague: we would tell each other when it was time to leave. Truth be told, I don’t think I have the guts to say anything to her, and I doubt she has the guts to say it to me either. Go figure!

  3. From what I heard last week, Patty, you both have a LONG way to go…

  4. Aw thanks, Bob. I got the feeling last night that the person with the baton might not agree with you, but I’m hoping I’m misreading. (I do tend to do that a lot!)