The New York Philharmonic deeply mourns the passing of Morris “Arnie” Lang, Percussionist / Assistant Principal Timpani (1955–96). Arnie played alongside legendary timpanist Saul Goodman and the famed percussion section comprising Buster Bailey, Walter Rosenberger, and Roland Kohloff, as well as today’s Principal Percussion Christopher S. Lamb and Associate Principal Percussion Daniel Druckman.
Highlights of his Philharmonic tenure included the World Premiere of Colgrass’s Déjà vu and master classes on tours to the Soviet Union, the first being in 1959 led by Leonard Bernstein. Over the years Lang’s performances of percussion literature included the premiere recording of Carter’s Eight Pieces for Four Timpani along with works by Chávez, Varèse, and Stravinsky.
The native New Yorker operated a music publishing company, published books on percussion, and produced highly prized drums, including a true replica of the infinitely collectible Billy Gladstone snare drum used by artists and orchestras all over the world. He was a prolific teacher and / or professor at Brooklyn College, Manhattan School of Music, and Lehman College, working with students from across the globe.
View a slideshow capturing moments of Arnie Lang’s Philharmonic tenure, above, and join us in extending condolences to his wife, Elizabeth; son, David; and five grandchildren.