It’s a well-known concert hall ritual: The audience settles, the concertmaster enters, the oboe sounds a perfect “A” and the rest of the orchestra tunes in preparation for the concert to follow.

For decades, the Detroit Symphony has taken that “A” from Don Baker, who this Sunday afternoon will play his last concert in Orchestra Hall. After 41 years as principal oboist of the DSO, Baker is retiring.

In order of seniority, the remaining DSO veterans retiring at the end of this season are violist Cathy Compton (41 years), violinist Bruce Smith (39 years), trombonist Tanny Gurin (36 years), oboist Shelley Heron (29 years) and principal clarinetist Ted Oien (26 years).



  1. I wish I was lucky to witness the Detroit Symphony. Extremely talented individuals I imagine.

    What a career Don has had. 41 years! Wow!

    He certainly deserves his retirement.

  2. Well, I’m watching and listening as I type!