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Matt Woroshyl

This week’s featured artist is alto saxophonist and composer Matt Woroshyl, who participated in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band in 2008-9. Originally from the Toronto area, Matt completed undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in 2013. That same year, he received the prestigious William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award was nominated for the Mary Alice Stuart / JAZZ.FM91 Scholarship Award.

Matt recently attended the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, studying with Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, Ben Monder, and Stephan Crump. He is currently pursuing a Masters Degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Leading an active performing career, Matt has performed with Mike Murley, Dave Liebman, and Jon Faddis, and has performed at venues including the National Music Centre, Koerner Hall, Mile One Centre, and Convocation Hall. He also leads his own Selenium Project, which performs at venues throughout Toronto and beyond.

Matt recently took time to outline his experience as a member of the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band and elaborate on his current activities and aspirations:

1) Describe your experience with the program. What was your favourite aspect?

During high school, a normal Saturday consisted of the Humber Community Music program, followed by a rehearsal with the Youth Big Band. My favourite aspect was getting the opportunity to meet some incredible young musicians. I am still friends with and play with many of its band members on a regular basis.

2) What is your strongest memory of the program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?

Some of my best memories from that experience were during performances, and especially the bus rides to and from gigs. The people in that band made it memorable for me.

3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians? Why?

Absolutely. As a young musician, the opportunity to play great music and to play with talented young jazz musicians was an invaluable experience.

4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?

Professionally, it allowed me to hone my craft as an improviser, performer, woodwind doubler, and as a big band section player. Personally, I was able to meet many of my current friends and band mates. It also gave me another outlet of interaction with students of similar interests and goals. Finding like-minded peers is especially positive as a high school student, where those opportunities aren’t the norm.

5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?

I would thank them for providing the foundation for the growth of youth jazz in Canada.

6) Why is music education important?

Music education brings musicians together. Musicians bring audiences together. Audiences experience art, sparking an appreciation for various arts, cultures, and humanities. Arts education fuels the flame that keeps the artists creating and audiences supporting.

7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing?

I’ve moved to New York as a Graduate Student at the Manhattan School of Music. I was able to make the move to New York through scholarship from the Manhattan School as well as winning the William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award from the University of Toronto. Since moving to New York I have been immersing myself in the music culture.

8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?

Arnold Schoenberg’s Verlärte Nacht (1899). I am particularly inspired by the way Schoenberg toys with the idea of resolution. The deeper I explore this piece, the broader the parameters of harmonic language become.

9) What are your plans for the future?

I will record my first album after I finish my studies.

10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?

11) Is there anything else that you want to add?

Participating in events like the JAZZFM.91 Youth Big Band has led me down a positive musical path. My only advice is to chase your passions and pursue what you love.

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