Arts Advocates: John Evans
Q&A with John Evans
Throughout John Evans’ life, including his long career in banking, he has been a devoted fan of chorale and symphonic music and sings and has played several instruments. In addition to being a longtime supporter of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ Department of Music, Evans is a member of the Claire Trevor Society Leadership Committee, a UCI Foundation Trustee, and a board member and past board chair of the Pacific Symphony.
Q. How have the arts played a role in your life personally?
JE: My mother and grandmother were musicians, so I grew up around music and took lessons on several instruments and sang in the high school choir. I loved to play Baroque piano music such as Bach’s Preludes and Fugues. While living in Tehran for work, I took up the alto recorder and sang in the Tehran Philharmonia Chorus including international singers and orchestra. My wife, Ruth Ann, participated with me in these activities and performs on piano still. She fills our home with the music of great composers as she practices.
Q. How do you see arts as helping to launch students into the professional world — whether in arts, business or industry?
JE: During the 40 years I was in financial services, I hired a lot of people and, because of my own liberal arts background, I looked for those who also had education in music, languages and arts. They already know about how to think, how to adapt, how to be flexible, and how to be creative — and that’s really important in our workplace. I felt we could teach the other more technical
aspects of their job.
Q. You’ve been in Orange County for nearly four decades. What have you noticed about the local arts community and how it’s evolved during that time?
JE: I’ve seen a major evolution in Orange County, not only in CTSA, but with the Pacific Symphony, which was a wonderful orchestra when I joined the board in 1987. Then we brought Carl St.Clair as the conductor in 1990, and since then we’ve become one of the top 25 orchestras in the country. I’ve followed UCI assiduously during the same time, and I became involved in CTSA in 2011. In December, UCI music students had a masterclass with Carl, and we look forward to them playing side-by-side with the Pacific Symphony in the future. We're excited about this collaborative endeavor, which aims to enrich the education
and musical experiences of CTSA's aspiring young musicians.
Q. How do you see the partnership between the Pacific Symphony and CTSA helping to provide professional pathways for the next generation of musicians?
JE: I’d love to see that partnership continue, and I intend to do my part to have that happen. A wonderful synergy is developing between CTSA Dean Tiffany López and Pacific Symphony President John Forsyte. We have a youth orchestra at the symphony which includes many first-generation students, and they often end up going to top universities and being successful in music, arts or any field they choose because they have developed musical discipline. I think this partnership will help both UCI students and youth symphony students see the broader opportunities available to them through music.
Q. As a member of the Claire Trevor Society Leadership Committee, what have you most enjoyed about this group?
JE: I like everybody I meet at CTSA. We are a highly compatible group of people working for a common cause to help elevate what the school is, and to ensure the students have bright futures ahead. Many of us share in common the understanding that music is more than entertainment. Music helps people achieve, be inspired, be kind and generous, and these benefits go beyond the moments we are experiencing them. Music and text quietly reside in our unconscious minds indefinitely, influencing and changing us for the better.
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Image: (Top) John Evans, photo by Will Tee Yang
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