Chenango Stories: Burton Kaplan

Growing up the youngest of three boys in the Bronx, one local musician says he thought he was destined to become a doctor.

Burton Kaplan says he always thought his life’s journey would take him to medical school and that one day he would become a psychiatrist. Although Kaplan did attend medical school for a brief time, he says his passion – and gift – for music led him on a different path.



Kaplan, an accomplished violinist, says his brothers and other family members also share in the musical talent; two play professionally and another is semi-professional.

As Kaplan matured, he says his future was open to him and because he was given the option to make choices for himself. At first, he didn’t know what he wanted to do at all. Kaplan went to Columbia College and then onto Albert Einstein Medical School for a semester before turning down the path that would evolve into his musical career.

Kaplan says he wanted to eventually freelance in New York City, but knew he couldn’t without experience in the field. Kaplan played with St. Louis Symphony for three years and for another year with the Cleveland Orchestra before heading to the Big Apple to make it on his own.


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