The offstage lives of Knoxville Symphony musicians

Posted on: October 16, 2009

In Wednesday’s (10/14) Metro Pulse (Knoxville, Tennessee), Jack Neely writes, “The well-trained musicians of a symphony orchestra devote much of their lives to performing music written by other people. … They cooperate tightly, to a degree extraordinary compared to almost all other professions. … But after that last ovation, they’re on their own. And as it turns out that, when they’re free of the baton, the [Knoxville Symphony Orchestra] is full of individualists. … Only 19 of the approximately 71 musicians are able to make the KSO their full-time professions, but more than half are professional musicians even outside the KSO, playing for other symphony organizations or teaching, either privately or in high schools or colleges. The faculty of the University of Tennessee is well represented in the symphony’s ranks. But a couple are real-estate agents. … As athletes, it’s unlikely that any can out-brag Gary Sperl. The KSO’s principal clarinetist is a marathoner. He’s completed 17 of the 26.2-mile races, including some of the toughest … Sperl also began dabbling in triathlons: specifically, Iron Man triathlons. He’s also completed three of those ordeals.”

Posted October 16, 2009