Meet John & Paula Lenz

Reno Phil Principal Horn
Reno Phil Violinist

What year did you join the orchestra?
We officially joined the Reno Phil around 1980, though we played often in the orchestra (and as soloist, John) before that. Gregory Stone was a personal friend and tried to talk John into taking over as conductor.

How long have you been playing music?
John: I started cello at age 7 and horn at age 12 at Vaughn middle school.
Paula: I started violin at age 10 and trombone at age 12 in Davis, CA, schools.

How did you two meet?
We met at Lake Tahoe, music camp in 1963.

What were your occupations?
John: I was professor of music at UNR for 38 years.
Paula: I was the first music teacher to all of our children (and others) and taught Orchestra at Sparks High School.

When you’re not playing with the Reno Phil, what would you most likely be doing in your free time?
We like to go hunting, hiking, or riding horses with our children and nine grandchildren.

What genre of music are you most excited to play?
John: My favorite genre is chamber music. I played in the Telluride chamber players and Argenta ensemble for over 30 years. I am a founding member of the Great Basin Brass and still perform regularly in the public schools under the auspices of the Reno Phil “discover music” program.
Paula: I enjoy playing chamber music with family and performing in the Reno Phil.

What is your favorite piece of all time to play and why?
John: My favorite piece is the Bartok piano quintet, which is a wonderful, exciting, difficult, and rarely performed piece.
Paula: Beethoven’s third was the first symphony I ever played and it inspired me to set my goals on playing in an orchestra. I say a prayer of thanksgiving every time I walk onto stage with the Phil.

If there was one piece of music that describes your relationship, what would it be?
John’s brother, Mark, wrote a piece describing our relationship for our wedding. It is filled with happy optimism, and that describes our relationship pretty well.

What is your favorite vacation spot to go as a couple or with family?
In winter, we like going to Death Valley and in summer we enjoy northeastern Nevada.

What do you think the audience would find surprising about you?
John: I taught half of the current horn and cello sections of the Reno Phil. As a member of the Back Country Horsemen I spent hours on a crosscut saw clearing logs off of trails.
Paula: I am an avid horse rider and love to pack our horses into the wilderness and help maintain trails.

What does music mean to you?
Music brought us together and is an integral part of our family and careers. Three generations working together to match pitch and rhythm to create something beautiful is a good foundation for finding harmony in other ways.