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Musical Chairs: Principal Clarinetist Stephen Williamson Rejoins Chicago Symphony Orchestra After One Season with New York Philharmonic

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Feb 24, 2014 07:11 PM EST | Louise Burton (

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced on Friday that principal clarinetist Stephen Williamson has chosen to return to the CSO, after serving as principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic for one season.

"We are delighted to welcome Steve and his family back to Chicago," said Deborah Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

Williamson will return to his post at the CSO in September 2014. He had taken an official leave of absence from the CSO in September 2013 to serve as the New York Philharmonic's new principal clarinetist.

"Decisions like these are intensely personal, and the return to Chicago is one that simply felt right for me and my family at this point in our lives," Williamson said in a statement. "I look forward to rejoining my CSO colleagues this fall."

Williamson also said, "It was a great honor to serve with the New York Philharmonic, and I thank the administration and orchestra for their collegiality and commitment to making extraordinary music."

The Philharmonic will continue its long search for a principal clarinetist that began when longtime principal Stanley Drucker retired in 2009 at age 80. Drucker was with the Philharmonic for an unprecedented 60 years.

The orchestra said in a statement: "The New York Philharmonic wishes Mr. Williamson well in his future endeavors."

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