The DSO's Principle Oboe Is Retiring After 41 Years

Thursday, May 15, 2014

By David Cassleman

The Principal Oboe for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is retiring this summer after more than four decades with the company.

Don Baker has been playing solos like this one from Richard Strauss’s “Don Juan" for a half century.

He first joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as Principal Oboe back in 1973 -- but now he plans to retire.

And he says he’s going to stop playing his instrument completely, once he says goodbye.

“I’m gonna try going without it … for a while at first. I may not like that and I can always change my mind and go back to playing it. But I’m gonna stop cold turkey. When I stop playing in July … I think I won’t be playing.”

Six other veteran musicians also plan to retire from the DSO this year.

Don Baker plays his final concert at Orchestra Hall on Sunday.