Recently retired violinist Herbert Light reflects on his extraordinary 56 year career in the Philadelphia Orchestra.
As I look back on my 56 years as a member of this great orchestra, I am confronted with mixed emotions. When I was accepted into the orchestra in 1960, it was the greatest day of my life and the fulfillment of a dream. The memories of being on stage with such legendary conductors and soloists such as Stokowski, Stravinsky, Copland, Klemperer, Sutherland, Fischer-Dieskau, Serkin, Gilels, Rubinstein, Stern, Menuhin, Francescatti and Milstein, will be with me forever.
The level of performance of the orchestra, both collectively and individually, is better than ever. It is not a mystery as to why the Philadelphia Orchestra was for more than a century, among the top few in the country. Our contract led the way for all orchestras, with every contractual item at or near the top. As I embark upon this new phase of my life, I fervently hope that in the not too distant future, the Philadelphia Orchestra will return to this well earned leadership role in the symphonic field.