Founded in 1966 by seventy Austin businessmen with the assistance of members of the Women’s Symphony League, the Knights of the Symphony was designed to be a fun-loving group. Despite its light-hearted attitude, however, the organization has also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Austin Symphony during its more than 40-year history. The Knights ranked first among the city’s most prestigious men’s groups in a survey commissioned by an Austin bank.
Among the traditions established by the Knights is the election of one of its members as King Brio. The name was given to the titular head of the Knights soon after the group’s founding by then Symphony Music Director Ezra Rachlin, who defined “brio” as meaning “spirited” or “lively.” King Brio is crowned during a splendid ceremony two days prior to the annual Jewel Ball and presides over the magnificent ball and its Royal Court.
Also selected each year from the ranks of the membership is the Lord Chancellor, who serves as the president of the organization and presides over all its business activities. On the day of the Jewel Ball, the Knights honor the Royal Court, which includes the Diamond and Princesses, at a special luncheon. The young ladies and their fathers are presented to the Knights for their approbation.