Weekly Faculty Interview: Matt Walley

As the temperature rises outside, the Extension Division is looking forward to our summer programs, especially the Rutgers Symphonic Wind Band & Chamber Music Camp! We have been receiving your auditions videos and applications, and we have been thoroughly impressed with what we have seen. This week, we figured it would be a good idea to interview Assistant Director Matt Walley to answer our questions and give prospective students a better idea of what to expect this summer!

Matt Walley (1)Matt Walley, a trombonist from Pascagoula, MS, is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trombone Performance as a Doctoral Fellow and Graduate Teaching Assistant at Rutgers University under the tutelage of Weston Sprott. Walley also studies conducting with Darryl Bott, Associate Director of the Music Department and Director of the Rutgers Symphony Band. He holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he studied with Dr. Joshua Bynum and Dr. Scott Anderson respectively. Currently he serves as Principal Trombone of both the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra and Rutgers Wind Ensemble.

Walley has taught as a substitute faculty member at the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. Walley has performed with the Edison Symphony Orchestra, the Garden State Philharmonic, and with the New York String Orchestra in Carnegie Hall. Walley has also performed with the Symphony Orchestras of both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Georgia as well as their respective Wind Ensembles.

What initially inspired you to go into the arts?
Everyone in my family all played woodwind instruments during high school and college. When I was growing up, they were always talking about how much fun they had and that made me want to join band in middle school. But instead of following in my family’s footsteps and playing a woodwind instrument, I decided to play a brass instrument and I have never regretted it! My first teacher was a trumpet player and middle school band director in the area, Earl Turner. He’s the person that really pushed and inspired me to go into the arts – funny thing is he wasn’t even my middle school director!


Was there a teacher who made an impact upon your development as an artist?  How did they impact your own work as a teacher?
Every teacher I’ve had has made an immense impact both on my development as an artist and teacher. During my undergraduate degree my trombone professor, Dr. Scott Anderson at U of Nebraska-Lincoln, really pushed me to be the best performer while my professors during my masters and doctoral program, Dr. Joshua Bynum and Weston Sprott respectively, pushed me to be the best performer AND teacher I could be.


What is the most rewarding part of teaching for you?
Helping a student achieve their goals and seeing their elation when they actually achieve their goals.



What’s the best part about playing a brass instrument in a symphony orchestra?
The best part about playing a brass instrument in an orchestra is the varied roles we get to have. Most of the time we are serving as background, supporting instruments but there are times when we get provide power for a really big climax or get to shine through a soft, exposed chorale section.


What are some of your favorite works for trombone? 
Solo: Henri Tomasi’s Trombone Concerto and Launy Grondahl’s Trombone Concerto

Orchestra: Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8  


Why should students apply to the Symphonic Wind Band Camp? What can they look forward to this summer?
Students should apply because they will get the opportunity to work with Rutgers faculty members, both within a large ensemble setting and during masterclass settings. Students can look forward to working on standard symphonic band literature under the direction of Darryl Bott and Tod Nichols. In addition to the faculty members that will be working with the students all week, we are currently working on bringing in additional world-class performers to present instrument specific masterclasses.

Thanks so much for speaking with us, Matt!

For more information about the Rutgers Symphonic Wind Band & Chamber Music Camp, please visit their website here!

During The Rutgers Summer Symphonic Wind Band & Chamber Music Camp, from July 26 to July 1, 2016, participants experience a week of intense band training with Mason Gross School of the Arts faculty members, renowned professional musicians, and leading music educators from the New York-New Jersey area.

Students participate in daily large-ensemble and chamber-ensemble rehearsals, group lessons, clinics, master classes, and electives. Accomplished students may audition for participation in the Honors Wind Symphony and have the opportunity to perform in featured chamber music ensembles. Students share newly developed performance skills during the final Gala Concert, open to the public at the 740-seat Nicholas Music Center.

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