Local Classical Musician Gordon Inman looks back on his career and discusses what it's like to be performing live music again.
Gordon Inman is a classically-trained musician born and raised here in the Chattanooga area who has made a name for himself through his adaptability and drive to create a lasting cooperation between local musicians.
In Gordon’s childhood, he initially began singing with the Chattanooga Boys Choir. Once he reached middle school, he switched to band and engrossed himself in that, participating in orchestra as well as the Chattanooga youth symphony. Unlike many college students stumbling around finding their passion, Gordon went on to study at Middle Tennessee State University's School for the Arts to further his classical education. After returning to Chattanooga after graduation, he spent time working in coffeehouses while he figured out where he wanted to go from there. During this self-discovery period, Gordon became connected with other local musicians and music organizations that put him on the path to where he is today.
“It turned into a bit of serendipity with me,” Gordon said, “getting involved with all aspects of the arts community, including Artsbuild.”
While Gordon found that his classical training “opened the door” to opportunities, his ability to adapt to different genres and styles made him stand out. As a young musician trying to make his way, this drive to expand and seek out performances outside his wheelhouse created connections that would have never otherwise existed. Now that he has worked with rock bands and jazz groups, Gordon believes that, while his musical ability is necessary, “networking is just as important as being able to play.”
As the weather warms and vaccines are administered, the possibility of a return to pre-pandemic life is on everyone’s mind. While many see that as a chance to be social drinkers again, Gordon and many other local musicians look forward to playing live concerts for the first time in almost a year. According to Gordon, “everyone has been chomping at the bit” to perform live shows, and his Northshore Karass Series, inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s fictional Bokononism religion, is the perfect opportunity to offer a chance for audiences and musicians alike to reconnect through music and remember that we are all bonded through our shared experience of isolation despite our differences. Though Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle is the inspiration for the series, Gordon hopes that it will be “cathartic” for the musicians involved and open the door for more live shows in the future. He also hopes that the series will be a chance for the stereotype of classical music being “stuffy and boring” to be changed by classical musicians deserving of recognition. Keeping with the idea of changing perceptions, many of the shows in the series will be held on Mondays and Tuesday, which are traditionally unused days at the Chattanooga Theatre Center, and will be located in the mainstage lobby of the theatre. Though the series is all about reconnection through music, social distancing will still take place.
“It’s important that we remember how it felt to not have live music,” Gordon said. “There is something about it that we all missed and that we all know now and should not forget.”
In addition to the Northshore Karass, Gordon’s jazz quartet will be doing a library session but the date and time is yet to be announced. He will also be performing for the Eastridge Centennial Celebration this fall. If fatalistic novels or unique woodwind sounds appeal to you, Gordon Inman’s live shows are sure to entertain.