Matt Walley


Hometown: Pascagoula, MS

Alma maters: Rutgers University, D.M.A; University of Georgia, M.M.; and the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, B.A.

Photos by Matt Dine and Jito Lee


Awards/Competitions: Honorable Mention, 2016 Rutgers Concerto Competition; Honorable Mention, 2012 International Trombone Association, Lewis van Haney Orchestral Tenor Trombone Competition

Appearances: Grafenegg Academy Orchestra; New York String Orchestra; Garden State Philharmonic; Mid-Atlantic Opera Orchestra; Light Opera of New Jersey; Edison Symphony Orchestra; Adelphi Symphony Orchestra; Brevard Music Center Orchestra; Brevard Sinfonia; Rome Music Festival Orchestra, Italy; Rekkenze Brass Festival; National Orchestral Institute, alternate

What is your earliest memory of classical music? During long car trips with my grandparents, we would listen to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera and other musicals. Listening to these made me more curious about classical music and led me to eventually trying the trombone.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? I realized I wanted to pursue music as a career during high school after starting to take private lessons.

What inspired you to audition for TŌN? I heard about TŌN through my professor at Rutgers University, Weston Sprott, who is also on faculty at Bard College. He inspired me to apply after discussing the program with me.

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? My favorite era of music is the Romantic. Maybe it has something to do with the trombone becoming more and more prominent.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Performing Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Rush

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Piano—I would play Chopin Nocturnes all the time.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Don’t be discouraged, have fun, and practice!