Physics Professors Create Harmony In Their Pastimes

Dr. Richard Klemm


Two Physics professors are bridging their day jobs and their hobbies at the speed of sound.

Professors Richard Klemm, Ph.D., and Robert Peale, Ph.D., have devoted their professional lives to teaching students the intricate mechanics that make the world work. That same complexity and challenge attracts them to playing violin as a break from laboratories and grading papers.

“Maybe, it’s the discipline of practicing or the difficulty of doing it that appeals to people who are also attracted to physics. I don’t know what it is, but in my opinion there is a correlation between both,” said Peale.

Dr. Robert Peale (far left)

Klemm learned piano from his mother as a child, then moved on to playing violin. After taking violin lessons in elementary school, he mastered the basic techniques and spent many years perfecting his skill playing with various musical groups. He now plays for the UCF Symphony Orchestra.

Asked how he juggles both teaching and playing at the UCF Symphony Orchestra, his eyes light up with enthusiasm: “I practice two and a half hours twice a week and when there is a concert I do more hours — especially if I have difficult passages.”

Peale picked up violin much later in life when he received an instrument as a gift. During a sabbatical, he took some lessons from his 92 year old neighbor, a retired violist who played in the Boston Symphony.  Peale signed up with the local community orchestra in Arlington Massachusetts, then joined the Maitland Community Orchestra after moving to Florida. In 2012, Peale joined the Central Florida Community Arts Orchestra. Playing in an ensemble is a familiar experience for Peale, who has been playing trombone for about 35 years.

Both agree that playing violin is an excellent distraction from the demands of academia.

“Violin is a fun challenge for me,” said Klemm. “To me classical music is about finding an inspiration.”



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