Remembering Caroline Clayton

It is with a heavy heart that the family of Caroline Clayton announces her passing on September 18, 2020.  Caroline and her husband, Merle Clayton, were members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for a period of 44 years. 

Caroline began her journey into a life of music at a very early age by studying violin with a faculty member of the music department at Smith College in Northampton, MA. It was this first teacher who encouraged Caroline to continue her studies by enrolling in the summer program at the renowned Cummington School of the Arts in Cummington, MA. 

Upon graduation from high school, Caroline continued her education at the Boston Conservatory of Music (now Berklee).  During these college years, she spent her summers at the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshires under the tutelage of members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was at Tanglewood that Caroline was encouraged to change her course of study from the violin to the viola. 

The path from graduation at the Boston Conservatory in 1954 to reach the Dallas stage in 1968 was quite typical of the challenges that faced female classical musicians.  Caroline started her professional career with the North Carolina Symphony, followed by the San Antonio Symphony, continued with the Houston Symphony, and lastly with the Dallas Symphony where she performed until her retirement in 2012. 

Both Caroline and Merle loved music, loved performing music, and loved the camaraderie of being associated with fine musicians.  They lived a fulfilled life in the world of classical music.