KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian to undergo treatment for early stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma with excellent prognosis


Conductor to lead Masterworks Series on Sept. 23-24, then limit appearances in 2021

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO) Music Director Aram Demirjian has been diagnosed with early stage classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The illness has been detected early, and the prognosis is very good.

Demirjian’s treatment is expected to last four months, beginning in late September. He will be treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where his wife, Caraline, works as a clinical research manager. He will rest and recover with nearby family in between treatments.

“All members of the KSO family wish Aram well in his treatment and look forward to his full return,” KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford said. “Aram and our team have communicated with our board, musicians, staff, season ticket holders and other supporters. He will be able to focus on his treatment, knowing the KSO is in good hands, and that we have a wonderful season planned.”

Demirjian will conduct the season-opening Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series concert, “The Four Seasons,” on Sept. 23-24 at the Tennessee Theatre. As his treatment allows, Demirjian will continue to appear with the KSO on a reduced schedule for the remainder of 2021. He anticipates a return to the full schedule in early 2022.

KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian

The full schedule of KSO Masterworks, Chamber Classics, Q Series, Concertmaster and Pops, as well as education, youth and music and wellness programs, will continue as planned. Guest conductors and KSO Resident Conductor James Fellenbaum will substitute during the times Demirjian is undergoing treatment.

Demirjian led the KSO at “Bach at the Botanicals” at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum on Sept. 15.

“I have received amazing support from Rachel Ford and KSO Board President John Winemiller,” Demirjian said. “You will see me a little less often than you are used to, but I will be appearing in concerts as my treatment allows. I am immensely grateful for each and every one of you, and I look forward to presenting our first Masterworks program, a celebration of family, friendship and community.”

For more information about the 2021-22 season, performances and programs, visit knoxvillesymphony.com or call 865-291-3310. Updates also are shared on KSO’s Facebook and Instagram.

About the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Led by Music Director Aram Demirjian, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra consists of 80 professional musicians and performs 300 programs throughout the region each season, reaching audiences of more than 200,000 people. The KSO performs in traditional venues such as the Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre, and Civic Auditorium, as well as non-traditional places like hospitals, schools, city parks, and churches. For more information regarding the KSO, please visit www.knoxvillesymphony.com or call 865-291-3310.