Obituary: longtime Met Opera timpanist Richard Horowitz, 91

Posted on: November 10, 2015

In his Operavore blog posted Monday (11/9) on wqxr.org classical radio (New York), Fred Plotkin remembers Richard Horowitz, former Metropolitan Opera Orchestra timpanist and “the longest-serving employee in the history of the Met,” who died November 2. A statement from the Met “noted that ‘Horowitz joined the orchestra at the beginning of the Met’s 1946-47 season, and served continuously until his retirement in 2012 at the age of 88.’ ” Plotkin writes that Horowitz was “a splendid musician who was also famous for making beautiful batons used by many leading conductors, including [James] Levine, Karl Böhm and Leonard Bernstein. One of the many things I recall about him…was his manual dexterity that was palpable not only in his wonderfully detailed playing of the timpani…but in the way he fashioned those delicate batons as an extension of the hands of maestros. He also designed the anvils the Met used in Das Rheingold.” Bernice Horowitz, his wife of almost 72 years, “reminded me that Dick had perfect pitch and often would detect what he thought were inconsistencies in a printed score…Just about everyone I have ever met who knew or worked with Dick has described his willingness to help, to teach, to share.”

Posted November 10, 2015