Matthew Boice


Photo by Matt Dine


First Place, 2017 Crane Concerto Competition; 3rd Place, 2019 Crane Concerto Competition; Winner (as member of Kazaam Winds), 2021 Eastman School of Music Chamber Competition; First Place, 2021 Eastman School of Music Concerto Competition for Bassoon


Domaine Forget, 2019; l’Orchetre de la Francophonie, Montreal, 2018; Brevard Music Center, NC, 2017

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

My earliest memory of classical music was going to my sister’s middle school band concert when I was in 2nd grade and thinking the bass clarinet was a very weird instrument. 

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career?

I wanted to pursue music as a career after going to band camp in 2013. What cemented this for me was when I switched to bassoon in 11th grade, and asked my private saxophone teacher if I should go to music school for bassoon instead of saxophone. He said, “You have to be really good at saxophone to get into music school, but you can be a real awful bassoonist and they will even give you a scholarship!” And the rest is history!

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply?

I grew up about 30 minutes away from Bard in a small town called Ancram, NY. I was home one week for a break from school and noticed that there was a concert at Bard where they were playing Mahler’s 7th Symphony. I went and discovered that it was The Orchestra Now playing and was incredibly impressed by how good the group was. I made it my goal in graduate school to get into TŌN and it feels exciting to say I am a part of this group.

What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century?

Far less formal! I think we should play more pop music like orchestras did in the 40s to bridge the gap between classical audiences and general audiences. Also I truly hope that one time I will play in a pajama day concert.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My bassoon teachers, George Sakakeeny and Dr. Carol Lowe, are my greatest musical inspiration. I have many inspirations as a person, far too many to list!

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most?

I think I connect with Prokofiev the most. I think that he really wrote some of the most exciting, dramatic, and intriguing music. He also wrote AMAZING bassoon and woodwind parts.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it?

Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony. It’s such an exciting piece to play as a woodwind musician, and all of the themes are just so masterfully crafted.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician?

I was once on a tour with my undergrad symphony orchestra, and my friend decided to try to run and jump on an ottoman with wheels down a hotel hallway. She completely missed and had to play a concert with rug burn on her lips, which were swollen to twice the size they normally were. We still laugh about it to this day.

Favorite non-classical musician or band

Donna Summer, Kate Bush, Dusty Springfield, and Lizzo

If you could play another instrument, what would it be?

I would want to be an opera singer. I think it’s incredible that their voices can sound like that!

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

Before I decided to be a musician my dream was to become a roller-coaster engineer.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why?

Trixie Mattel because she is one of the funniest people alive, Ina Garten because she would cook us a delicious meal, and Ellen Ripley because she is my favorite character from my favorite movie franchise (Alien).

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us

I am a rollercoaster enthusiast and a big theme park nerd! 

Piece of advice for a young classical musician

Remember to never attach your self worth to your music making. No one should make you feel less-than for a mistake. I really struggled through my Master’s because I had to work full time, and I wouldn’t be able to prepare for rehearsal like everyone else. People would be rude sometimes and I had to remember that even though I may have flubbed an entrance and people were mad at me that I’m still who I am and I am a kind person and loved by many and no one can take that away from me.