Robert Burks, “Oboe Bob” to those who knew him, died on June 1st, 2019.
He served as principal oboist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera for 38 seasons, as well as the Chattanooga Bach Choir orchestra. He was a featured soloist on numerous occasions, most recently in the Double Concerto by Alan Elkins with the CSO and Kayoko Dan in January of this year.
Bob spent decades as a board member and officer of the Tri-State Musician’s Union, AFM Local 80, serving terms as both Vice President and President. Mr. Burks maintained an active studio over the years—providing lessons in his home studio in addition to teaching at Lee University and Southern Adventist University, among other local institutes—with many of his students going on to successful musical careers. Bob’s love of playing was rivaled only by his passion for teaching.
A native of Oklahoma, Burks excelled at the piano as a youth, and he eventually traded his prospects as a standout baseball player for a less injurious future in music. His talents took him many places in his life: from advanced studies at the St. Louis Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music, to professional stops as far afield as Honolulu and Germany, as well as recording and performing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. When not playing, teaching, or making oboe reeds, Bob enjoyed cooking and spending time with his family. He indulged in a fondness for nostalgic Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, which he would record and watch religiously!
The son of the late John & Juanita Burks, Bob was preceded in death by his sister Cheryl Beeler.
He is survived by his wife Teresa; son Matt, and granddaughter, Harper Lynn; brother John Burks, Jr.; and sister, Valerie Shimp.
A Celebration of Life for Bob will be held Thursday, June 6th in the chapel of St. Nicholas School, 7525 Min Tom Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37421.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Attn: Robert Burks Fund, 701 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402.
You may visit www.heritagechattanooga.com to share condolence to the family.
Arrangements are by heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.
Chattanooga Symphony & Opera
701 Broad Street, Chattanooga TN 37402