Q&A with MWF Flutist, Mary Matthews

Mary Matthews

When was your first encounter with music?

My earliest encounter with music watching and singing along with Disney movies as a toddler! I began making music when I started elementary school, and it immediately became my favorite subject. My first experience with classical instrumental music came just before I began playing the flute when I was about 6 or 7 years old. My parents took me to hear the Cleveland Orchestra perform at the Blossom Music Center while we were visiting friends in Cleveland. I cannot think of a better introduction to the orchestra!

When/How did you start playing your instrument?

I began playing the flute in 3rd Grade at St. Louis School. I loved playing the recorder in 2nd grade, and I begged my parents to let me play a band instrument the next year. The teacher gave me a choice between flute and clarinet, and I picked the flute because I thought it was the prettiest.

When did you decide to make music your career?

I can’t actually name a particular moment or year when I decided that I wanted to be a professional musician, but I can’t really remember a time when I wanted to do anything else. My mom was a career counselor, so we spent a lot of time discussing the idea of careers versus hobbies and how people can turn the things they love into careers. I started taking Music Theory and Music History classes at the Eastman School of Music’s preparatory program in 9th grade, and I made the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in 10th grade. My love for music only grew from that point on, so my career path became very clear. I was able to realize my dream through the support of some truly incredible teachers and mentors over the course of my education.

What is your favorite memory of a performance?

It is difficult to pick just one! My favorite memories come from performing in beautiful spaces with colleagues and friends that I admire. If I had to pick just one, I would have to say my performance with Baldwin Wallace’s Bach Festival Orchestra at Severance Hall for the 75th Anniversary Bach Festival. I played second flute to my teacher, George Pope, and it was one of the most exciting and meaningful performances of my life.

What do you like to do outside of music?

I love to hike, camp, and spend time with my dogs and husband. Luckily, living in Colorado allows me to do all of those things on a regular basis! This past summer, I did my first 14er (a peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet) with our other MWF flutist, Matt Angelo. We took two days to complete the hike and slept overnight in a mountain cabin about halfway up. It was our first experience with real backpacking, and it was an incredible adventure!

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