Sunday’s (9/5) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (subscription required) includes a substantial profile by Rich Polikoff on John Jeter, music director of the Fort Smith (Ark.) Symphony since 1997. “He believes the tradition of conductors donning tails is a horrible one. However, he’s the face of the symphony, determined to give Fort Smith an orchestra worthy of cities 10 times its size. That means giving it a professional look to match its sound, which means he wears tails. … Before most shows, Jeter takes time to explain to the audience what they will be hearing.” Jeter displayed early talent as a graphic artist and “earned his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.” With a degree in piano and theory from The Hartt School in Connecticut, but largely self-taught as a conductor, he served for a year as a visiting professor at Purdue University, then led the Greater Indianapolis Youth Symphony. “Jeter has always enjoyed working with children, whether it’s conducting or introducing them to new sounds and instruments through programs like [Fort Smith’s] Symphony in the Schools and Earquake!”

Posted September 8, 2010