Monday, January 18, 2016

5 Questions with Matthew Aubin

Matthew Aubin, Doctor of Musical Arts (2010) and Masters (2006) in Music Education both with a conducting emphasis, is currently living in Jackson, Michigan. 


What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

In 2006, after completing my Masters, I applied for the DMA program and was offered a fellowship.  I accepted this offer, and left my teaching position at The Norwich Free Academy. In addition to my core course work in music education and wind conducting with Glen Adsit, I took the opportunity as a full-time student to play the French horn again and explore orchestral conducting.  I worked very hard to get my horn chops back into shape and performed with the top instrumental ensembles at The Hartt School.  Additionally, I supplemented my conducting study with Glen by taking score reading courses with Larry Alan Smith and participated in the orchestral conducting seminar with Chris Zimmerman.  These experiences along with some outside conducting workshops and extracurricular study led to a variety of opportunities.

After achieving ABD status in 2008, Hartt kept me on as an adjunct faculty member.  Glen asked me to conduct the Symphony Band, Foot in the Door and the Pep Band.  I also taught several undergraduate courses.  I began to make connections with many of the local professional orchestras and freelanced often on horn in Connecticut.  It was during this period that I was contracted to design and conduct educational concerts with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.  Concurrently, I began to play with a new orchestra in New York City called The Chelsea Symphony.  In 2010, I successfully auditioned to be one of that group’s conductors, eventually becoming Artistic Director.  After completing my doctorate in 2010, I continued as an adjunct faculty member at Hartt and was a candidate for two local community orchestra music director positions.  

The day I learned that I was selected to be the Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra’s Music Director was the same day that I learned I had successfully won the position of Assistant Professor of Music at Washington State University (orchestra conductor and studio horn).  My wife and I discussed the situation and decided that it was a good career move for me to accept the job offer in Washington even though she had 4 more years of training in orthopedic surgery at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester where we were living at the time.  For the next 4 years I traveled across the country regularly, conducting The Chelsea Symphony in NYC, teaching at WSU and managing to visit my wife in Massachusetts.  The students at WSU were fantastic and both the orchestra and horn studio improved a great deal while I was there.  At WSU, I performed in faculty ensembles and performed with many professional orchestras including the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and Walla Walla Symphony.  However, the travel was exhausting and as my wife finished fellowship and was looking for jobs we decided that we could no longer live apart. 

We discussed our situation and made the decision for her to take a job in Jackson, Michigan as a hand surgeon and for me to leave WSU.  The Jackson position was a dream job for my wife.  For me, The Chelsea Symphony was demanding more of my attention as it grew from a modest start-up to a more mature organization.  Leaving WSU allowed me to devote more time to The Chelsea Symphony and to finally live with my wife again.

What are you involved with right now?

Today we reside in Jackson and I commute to NYC about 2 times per month.  The Chelsea Symphony is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season. The orchestra is unique in that we provide professional development opportunities for our members by featuring them as conductors, composers and soloists.  This season we are celebrating our anniversary by performing at some different venues such as Merkin Hall and the DiMenna Center.  We are performing the music of some fantastic contemporary composers like Caroline Shaw, Michael Daugherty and Gerard Schwarz.  The orchestra is continuing to play a role as background musicians and coaches for the Amazon television series Mozart in the Jungle.  I consult for the series and contract many of the musicians that appear on camera. 

While at WSU I began researching the composer, Fernande Breilh-Decruck.  She is a French, female composer from the first part of the 20th century who is primarily known as the composer of several important classical saxophone works.  I won a number of research grants for this work and in my travels to France I have discovered many manuscripts that were written for and performed by many of the top performers and ensembles in France in the 1930’s and 1940’s. For the past few years, I’ve worked to disseminate this music to performers and provide more information about her through a website that I’ve created ( 

Additionally, I am continuing to be an active horn player and have performed with the Traverse City Symphony and the Jackson Symphony Orchestra.  Both ensembles are exceptional regional orchestras.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

It was extremely rewarding to prepare for our tours and to create our recordings for Naxos.  Glen was very gracious about giving me opportunities to conduct (tours) and produce (recordings) and I will never forget those experiences.  The wind ensemble performance at Hill Auditorium and Foot in the Door’s performance at Benaroya Hall were both the culmination of many months of hard work.  In 2008 we toured Germany and Austria with the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble and I still remember standing on the rostrum at the Musikverein listening to the resonance last forever.  I remember sitting in the sound booth with Steve Gryc as we recorded his trombone concerto with Joe Alessi.  As I look back, I recognize the value of breaking out of our daily routine with projects such as these.  They heightened everyone's musical standards, exposed the musicians to new experiences but most importantly brought the members of the ensemble together.  I appreciate the support of the university in these opportunities and especially the support, motivation and mentorship of Glen Adsit.

What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?


When I began my graduate studies, I understood the importance of making a good impression on my professors.  While this was important, in hindsight I have recognized the significance of my relationships with my peers and students as many of my career opportunities have come from these connections.  My positions with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, The Chelsea Symphony, Washington State University and countless freelance positions would not have come about if it weren’t for the personal connections I had made. It is so important to consider these relationships while studying. I have also gained better appreciation for the repertoire that we were able to perform.  I recall overhearing musicians complain about having to play with “school” ensembles.  However, you soon learn that in many freelance or teaching positions you rarely have the opportunity to play large masterworks like Mahler’s 3rd Symphony or extremely difficult contemporary works like John Adam’s Chamber Symphony.  My advice would be to treasure these experiences and learn from them as they will serve you well when you do embark on your professional career.

What is next for you?

I am progressing with my work on Decruck and expanding the reach of her music, educating players and audiences about her music.  I am playing the horn regularly and am beginning to gig throughout Michigan.  In addition, I am guest conducting the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in March and am conducting the CMEA All State Orchestra in April.  Finally, I will continue to serve as an Artistic Director, Conductor, Hornist and board member for The Chelsea Symphony and will center my focus on their advancement.

How can people get in touch?


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