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A Chicago therapist draws a Karajan story from the departing Dale Clevenger

Dr Gerald Stein has been recording oral history with the departing principal horn. Among other things, he discovers why Clevenger never got the job he auditioned for in Berlin. Read him here.


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  1. Tutti Flutie says:

    Wonderful story! But Sir James Galway can top it! Someone should ask Sir James to recount HIS experience auditioning for HVK and Berlin Phil. It’s quite good – and he DID get the job!

  2. harold braun says:

    Good for Chicago!

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      Even better for Berlin. That position was eventually won by Bengt Belfrage, a Swedish horn player who apparently was quite the virtuoso but when it came to confirming him after his trial period, it was also argued by members of the orchestra that he was a very able player but that he didn’t fit in the orchestra tonally. Karajan didn’t see it that way and was totally pissed off. It almost came to a confrontation between him and the orchestra which foreshadowed the Sabine Meyer crisis of 20 years later. But Karajan eventually relented and they had another round of auditions which led to the hiring of Gerd Seifert.
      Cleverer was a very good player – I really like his recording of the first Haydn concerto – but his tone was just too flat and monochrome for the BP.

  3. Rgiarola says:

    Antonio Meneses that recorded as soloist more than twice times with karajan has an opinion that isn’t so far of that.

    However I should say that are many soloist or orchestral musicians that really have great opinions about HvK.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      I saw Meneses play the solo cello part in Don Quixote with Karajan in 1986 or so – just before they made the recording for DG. Meneses was awesome, as was the orchestra and HvK. That’s stil one of the most vivid memories I have of the many concerts I saw in my life.
      I am confused though – what “opinion that isn’t so far of that” are you referring to? Clevenger doesn’t offer any sort of opinion here. He just says he auditioned but didn’t get the job.

      • Rgiarola says:

        I’m sorry Schaffer if I wasn’t clear. I was just wondering about Karajan in the eyes of other great musicians and of course Meneses came to my mind.

        I couldn’t find any resource to explain it in English, eventhoug I was searching at internet. As far as I can understand by interviews of Meneses in Portuguese, he didn’t enjoy too much his experience with HvK. The sum up is that it wasn’t him, but Karajan interpretation. I think that even him admit that both records for DG and concerts helped to open a lot of paths for his career. You hate, you love. Please, don’t take me for granted. I’m also Meneses supporter and perhaps I’ve just misunderstood his words.

  4. I find it quite surprising that in the early 1960s, the BPO would have contemplated hiring an American, much less holding an audition in New York. Would have been interesting to have heard that story from Karajan’s perspective.

    As for taking multiple auditions, I know someone who took close to 50 without ever winning one; but made enough semis and finals to think it was worth plugging on. But auditioning is largely a young person’s game.

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