The legendary Dale Clevenger steps down after 47 years at the top of his game.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s principal horn, Dale Clevenger, gave his final performance with the orchestra last week. He has been a key member of the Chicago SO for 47 years and served under an impressive roll call of music directors from Jean Martinon in 1966 to Riccardo Muti. On his retirement, Muti referred to him as “one of the greats”, and as a tribute, 70 horn-playing colleagues treated him to a surprise performance of part of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony during which his CSO colleagues recorded this heartfelt tribute.

His final concert featured Haydn’s Maria TheresaSymphony (No 48), Martinů’s Oboe Concerto and Scriabin’s The Divine Poem, conducted by Muti. Afterwards Clevenger was presented with the Theodore Thomas medallion, which is given to all retiring members of the CSO (Thomas was the Chicago SO’s first music director, 1890-1905).

On disc, Clevenger can be heard in the Mozart Horn Concertos (Hungaroton with the Franz Liszt CO, and DG – No 3 with Abbado and the CSO), the Serenade for tenor, horn and strings(with Robert Tear and Carlo Maria Giulini and the CSO...