Dale Clevenger

born on 2/7/1940 in Chattanooga, TN, United States

Dale Clevenger

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Dale Clevenger

Dale Clevenger (born 1940 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) was the Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1966 until his retirement in June, 2013.[1] Before joining the CSO, he was a member of Leopold Stokowski's American Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of the Air directed by Alfred Wallenstein. He was also principal horn of the Kansas City Philharmonic.[2]

Personal life

Clevenger married Alice Anne Render of Louisville, Kentucky, also a skilled hornist. The couple had two sons, Mac and Jesse. His wife died in 2011. He resides in Winnetka, Illinois.[3]

Musical career

He started playing trumpet at age 11 and switched to horn at age 13.[1] Clevenger's father was President of the Chattanooga Opera Association, and he was exposed to live orchestral music at an early age. He attended Chattanooga High School, aka "City High" when the band program was under the leadership of Richard Casavant, a scholar of marching band history. Clevenger received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in 1962.[4][5] Clevenger considers Arnold Jacobs and Adolph Herseth, former principal brass instrumentalists of the CSO, to be his mentors.

Clevenger has performed with many ensembles worldwide, including the Berlin Philharmonic (under Daniel Barenboim). He has taken part in many music festivals including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Florida Music Festival, Sarasota, Marrowstone Music Festival, Bellingham, Washington, and Affinis Music Festival, Japan.[6]

He won a Grammy Award for "The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli," which he recorded with members of the Chicago Symphony brass section, as well as the brass sections of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra[2] His recording of Mozart's horn concertos was named Record of the Year in Hungary on the European label Hungaraton.[2] He also was a featured soloist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Grammy-winning Strauss Wind Concertos album, on which he plays Strauss's first horn concerto, as well as Andante for horn and piano in C major with Daniel Barenboim accompanying on piano.

In 2003, Clevenger premiered John William's Concerto for Horn and Orchestra, a work written for him.

In addition to performing, Clevenger is an experienced conductor. He was the Music Director of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra from 1981 to 1995.[7] He has expanded his conducting career with numerous orchestras in North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, recently leading the Orquestra Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon with Daniel Barenboim as soloist.[8]

Dale Clevenger is President of the Italian Brass Week and teaches at Roosevelt University.[9]

Reviews by music critics

Over the years, critics have written of his playing as being "satin smooth (1975),"[10] as having "mellow radiance and gentle flow...despite a few inconsequential fluffs (1978),"[11] and of his "pianissimo trills and daredevil octaves (1981)."[12] He has also been said to have "an unfailing sense of direction in phrasing (1983),",[13] "well drawn legato phrases" despite "regrettable lapses of intonation in the fast ornamental section (1984)"[14] and "smooth control (1991)."[15] In 2010, his horn solos received some negative reviews from music critics at the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, with the latter describing his work as "unpredictable horn solos, some firm, others faltering.[16][17][18] Flaws in a performance of Mahler's 3rd Symphony on November 1, 2012, were cited in three separate reviews,[19][20] with the Chicago Sun-Times calling his performance "saddening".[21]


  • The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli (1968)
    The Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Chicago Brass Ensembles
    Richard Burgin, conductor
  • Mozart: Four Horn Concertos (1996)
    Dale Clevenger, horn
    Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
    Janos Rolla, conductor
  • Richard Strauss: Wind Concertos (2001)
    Dale Clevenger, horn
    Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Daniel Barenboim, conductor
  • The Chicago Principal: First Chair Soloist Play Famous Concertos (2003)
    Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Hadyn Horn Concertos (2006)
    Dale Clevenger, horn
    Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
    Janos Rolla, conductor
  • Richard & Franz Strauss: Horn Concertos (2006)
    Steven Gross, horn
    Philharmonia Orchestra of Bratislava
    Dale Clevenger, conductor


  1. 1.0 1.1 [1] Strini, Tom "Clevenger the horn master provides tips aplenty," The Milwaukee Journal, January 16, 1983, page 7, Entertainment section. Retrieved November 8, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Chicago Symphony Orchestra - CSO Musicians Roster - Performer Bio
  3. [2] von Rhein, John "Alice Clevenger, 1961-2011," The Chicago Tribune, March 24, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2011
  4. [3] International Horn Society biography of Dale Clevenger. Retrieved March 25, 2011
  5. [4] Carnegie Mellon University, "Orchestra ties." Retrieved March 25, 2011
  6. Dale Clevenger
  7. [5] History of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra
  8. [6] Dale Clevenger: Conductor
  9. The Music Conservatory - Faculty
  10. [7] Kenngott, Louise, "Leinsdorf puts luster into Chicagoans' opener," The Milwaukee Journal, October 14, 1975, page 3. Retrieved November 8, 2010
  11. [8] Goodfellow, William S., "Symphony, thunder combine for festival," The Deseret News, August 14, 1978, page 6C. Retrieved November 8, 2010
  12. [9] Johnson, Lawrence B., The Milwaukee Sentinel, March 3, 1981, page 10, part 1. Retrieved November 8, 2010
  13. [10] Strini, Tom "Players shine in brief bursts," The Milwaukee Journal, January 10, 1983. Retrieved November 8, 2010
  14. [11] Fisher, Florence, "New college music festival ends with a flourish," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 18, 1984. Retrieved November 8, 2010
  15. [12] Fisher, Florence "Students shine at festival," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 11, 1991, page 2E. Retrieved November 8, 2010
  16. [13] von Rhein, John "Bychkov takes CSO audience on absorbing journey from darkness to light," Chicago Tribune, Mat 21, 2010. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
  17. [14] von Rhein, Jon, "At 85, Boulez pays brilliant homage to modern times." Chicago Tribune, January 23, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2010
  18. [15] Smith, Steve, "Whole Orchestra Shines, Nurtured by a Deft Touch." New York Times, February 1, 2010. Retrieved February 1, 2010
  19. http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/chi-cso-bychkov-mahler-symphony-2012-1102,0,5643045.column
  20. http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2012/11/bychkov-and-cso-serve-up-a-mahler-third-raucous-and-sublime/
  21. http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/music/1611-2786-421/cso-semyon-bychkov-still-settling-in-for-the-mahler-third.html

External links

  • Clevenger's website
  • Interview with Dale Clevenger by Bruce Duffie, October 16, 2003
This page was last modified 02.02.2014 19:14:21

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