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Portrait Of An Artist

Name: Patricia Whaley

Age: 48

Hometown: Berkeley

Symphony position: Principal viola

Daily job: I'm a full-time professional symphony musician. I have contracts with Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley and Oakland East Bay Symphony, and I play regularly with many other orchestras in the greater Bay Area. I have also taught privately and at San Jose State University.

Family: My husband of almost 25 years is Mitchell Sardou Klein, who is music director of the Peninsula Symphony and of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra (and a former cellist). Our daughter, Elizabeth, is a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, where she sings with the Amateurs, a very fine small a cappella vocal group. She played percussion in Mitch's youth orchestra.

Background: BA in music from UC Berkeley; MM in viola performance from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

Music experience: I've been working as a symphony musician since I finished grad school, and I've played for almost every orchestra in the Bay Area except San Francisco Ballet. I've also performed concertos with several local orchestras, and played recitals and chamber music from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz.

Advice for young musicians: Don't aim for a career in music unless you wake up every morning desperate to do that and nothing else; it's too difficult and discouraging otherwise. And you know you should be practicing more!

Favorite music: Anything by Brahms

Favorite musician, composer, etc: See above!

Life plans: To keep working long enough to pay for college and my daughter's (eventual!) wedding; to keep studying meditation; to read every book in the library.

How do you reach people unfamiliar with the symphony: Having the case with me often leads to striking up a conversation in the grocery store, etc. What would surprise people about your job: How much musicians love to eat and gossip! And not necessarily in that order.