Musician Profile: Terry Stolow

Terry Stolow joined the San Antonio Symphony viola section in 1983, and will be taking an unpaid sabbatical year during the upcoming season. While many people have plans of travel or retirement, Terry will be going to law school at the age of 60.

When did you first become interested in studying law, and what aspects do you want to study further?

My father was an attorney in Atlanta, as is my older brother. Growing up, I was going to go into practice with them and we would be known as "Franco, Son and Daughter." I remember typing law briefs in my father's law office during the summer months during high school. During this time, I was also playing viola in a very elite high school string quartet, I realized that the only thing that was holding our quartet back from playing more challenging music was me!

An introduction to a viola teacher, Ruth Dabney Allen, changed my life and future goals. Performing poorly in one of her many class recitals was not allowed, nor was stage fright or any excuse accepted for less than stellar performances. I flourished and during my senior year in high school realized that becoming a professional musician was not just an answer to my career goals, but the ONLY answer.

I have since thought about a career in law during many of the labor issues that have arisen during my tenure with the symphony. Labor law would be interesting to learn about and possibly pursue. I also feel a "calling' toward elder law, as "I am one." I was the financial trustee for my mother before her passing in November of 2015, and would love to know more about the many aspects involved and help others with their family concerns and issues.

How did you prepare for law school applications?

At the young age of 59, I decided to try taking the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) to see if there was any chance that I might make a career change. Many Kaplan LSAT classes and tutoring sessions later, the day arrived and I'm happy to say that I didn't forget all of my knowledge relating to "logic games" and various related parts of the test. Although I must admit that while many musicians are very gifted in Math, I'm not one of them. The process continued with applications to law schools which included all two schools that were relatively close to San Antonio, St. Mary's Law and the University of Texas Law School. So... I am now sixty and going to law school.

How do you feel that your career in music has prepared you for a new life in law?

I truly believe that my long career in music will help with law school and beyond. The many hours of practice that are involved in becoming a musician (and usually from a very young age), help us to pursue many avenues with an intense dedication. We never stop practicing and learning, as music is a lifelong pursuit of physical and mental knowledge. There is an old adage I believe attributed to Arthur Rubinstein which roughly translates to, "If I don't practice for one day, I know. If I don't practice for two days, my wife knows. If I don't practice for a week, the audience knows." This is true no matter how many times we perform certain orchestral pieces, as there is always another aspect of the music to pursue.

What have been some of your favorite works to perform?

My favorite pieces have always been any of the Brahms symphonies. I actually love the second the most. I picture Brahms falling in love with Clara Schumann and actually, if you listen, you may hear the two note theme throughout , calling "Clara, Clara." The last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is still a favorite. I cried during the slow movement of Mahler's Fourth Symphony when we performed it several weeks ago. I guess I don't have a favorite orchestral piece to perform, as in the past minute or so, I have thought of ten other pieces that come to mind. I am also very grateful for my colleagues in the San Antonio Symphony, as they are all world class musicians. They perform season after season with flawless precision. Any of the musicians in our symphony could grace any venue with their outstanding musicianship.

We wish Terry all the best in her future studies!