Russell Dagon ’61, ’62 MMus, professor emeritus of clarinet, died October 20 at age 83. He first arrived at Northwestern’s School of Music as an undergraduate in 1957. Upon completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he went on to establish a dual career as an orchestral musician and beloved teacher.

Dagon became principal clarinet of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 1969 and held that position until his retirement in 1999. Prior to this appointment he was affiliated with the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics and the Syracuse Symphony. Dagon appeared with the Milwaukee Symphony as a soloist on numerous occasions and can be heard on all the orchestra's recordings for the Koss Classics, Nonesuch, and Telarc labels made during his 35-year career there.

Prior to joining Northwestern as a part-time faculty member in 1981, Dagon held positions on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the State University of New York College at Fredonia, Carroll College, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and Bemidji State College in Minnesota. He was appointed professor of clarinet at Northwestern in 1999 and retired in spring 2005.  

Following his retirement, Dagon remained active as a clinician and performer. He performed throughout the United States as a recitalist, guest soloist, and chamber musician and was a featured artist at conferences of the International Clarinet Society. His frequent performances on Northwestern’s campus included appearances in the Winter Chamber Music Festival as well as chamber music collaborations with faculty colleagues. He presented master classes at colleges and universities throughout the country and spent his summers coaching the wind sections of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Beginning in 1992, he served as an artist-clinician representative for Buffet/Crampon clarinets.

Dagon’s former students can be found in orchestras, universities, and other music-related positions around the world.

  • emeriti
  • woodwinds