Erin Svoboda

ErinSAssociate Principal Clarinet, E-flat Clarinet

Utah Symphony’s Freshest Talent

Erin Svoboda just finished her first season with the Utah Symphony, soothing us with warm tones of woe and then jolting us back with her E-flat clarinet, holding it high and playing to be heard. Her personality is a good fit for her role in the orchestra. She’s got this oomph about her, just the oomph needed for E-flat to go out on a limb, set the tempo and show everyone how it goes. You can hear it in her voice actually. Erin has a kind of northeast accent, like a Jersey/Philly hybrid, but with less drawn out vowels and more… oomph. It’s really the shape of her lines as she speaks. But her words are so personable, and that’s the thing: Erin doesn’t let her assertive confidence cloud her friendliness. That’s what I like about her. By the way, she also proves that size does not correlate to volume, standing at a whopping five feet tall.

So, I thought that if no musical passages have yet been able to stump Erin, perhaps some truly awkward Q & A could…

Q: Erin, if you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

A: I once went to karaoke and this horn player sang Open Your Heart to Me. It was the kind of thing where everyone in the place stopped what they were doing to listen to her because she was so good. I would love to be able to do that but I’m a pretty pathetic singer. That’s probably why I play the E-flat clarinet. That thing can be heard.

Q: The Musicians of the Utah Symphony are a colorful bunch. You’re a new addition to the Crayola box; what color are you?

A: I had to look up the crayon colors for this. There are some pretty creative names there— fuzzy wuzzy brown, atomic tangerine, outer space— but I’m not a crazy color. Then there are pretty colors with bland or not-so-nice names— bittersweet, tumbleweed, macaroni and cheese. I’ll choose mauvelous— pretty color and a fun, creative name.

Q: Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

A: Gatherer! I am also an aspiring gardener! Living in Manhattan, I’d carry a basil plant squished in my grocery bag on the subway and put it in a window that looked out onto another apartment where you could see the sky if you stuck your head way out and looked up. The basil would always die. Now that I live in a place with more grass and less concrete, I’m actually borrowing someone’s garden since I don’t have space for my own. So far, I’ve been watering and weeding, but I’m really looking forward to getting to the gathering stage.

Q: Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?

A: Friction. How else are you going to put some English on the ball?
-Eric Hopkins