Are you ready for the September Spotlight on YOU? We are excited to see you at the SPOTLIGHT! In the meantime, I wanted to peak your interest with an interview with our featured musical director of the month, Matthew Martin Ward!
Many of you may have seen him perform at shows and at open mics but how much do you really know about him? I've had the pleasure of singing with Matthew at several occasions and found him to be absolutely a treat to work with! In case you don't know him, for starters, here's a short bio of Matthew:
Matthew Martin Ward has done almost every job a musician can do. Performer, film and stage composer, conductor, musical director. Sideman, soloist, singer, accompanist, arranger. Contractor, van driver, therapist. Teacher, healer, mentor, actor, coach…
As winner of the Commencement Competition at the American Conservatory of Music, he soloed with orchestra at Chicago’s Symphony Hall. Finishing his Bachelor of Piano Performance in a scant 11 years, he worked his way through college performing in bars, concert halls and bathhouses. He played at Soldier Field Stadium with Ben Arden’s Big Bear Band. “It was just like a high school pep rally, but for money.” Further Chicago highlights include the duo-piano Side by Side by Sondheim with Cyril Ritchard (Paul Geminianni musical director), and the onstage band acting and playing in I Love My Wife.
After attempting writing music and lyrics for two musicals in Chicago, he joined with book writer/lyricist Stephen Cole to create After the Fair. A chamber musical based on a Thomas Hardy short story, it premiered in Dallas TX and has been produced in New York, Seattle, Chicago, London and regionally. With Cole he wrote the score for Casper, about the cartoon ghost, for Chita Rivera. With Peter Napolitano, he wrote The Lady in Penthouse B, a musical comedy about gossip and show biz.
(For more information, click and check out his website)
For the interview, I asked Matthew these questions:
1) Can you share with us an interesting fact that most people don’t know about you?
I sometimes have music dreams; I may be conducting from a score with notes, or it may be a fully staged production number. Sometimes they are synesthetic; colors, shapes or printed words become sounds. They are always original compositions.
2) You are a wonderful pianist, song writer and musical director. How did you discover music and realized that it was what you wanted to do? Do you have a particularly interesting story that you'd like to share with the readers?
Sibling rivalry. As the youngest of five, I watched what they did, and by age five, I played better than any of them. There was no "realization" I never considered anything else.
3) What motivates your creativity and passion for life?
Necessity. I have no other marketable skills.
4) Name three things that never fail to put a smile on your face!
Toddlers trying to walk. Dogs that jump up to kiss my face. Pure music jokes, especially in jazz.
5) Share with us what you have in the pipeline for us to be on the lookout for!
My musical "After the Fair" will be presented at Urban Stages as part of the Winter Rhythms festival. And yes, a solo cabaret.
Come join us on September 15th and experience singing with him or hearing him live! Hope to see you at the Spotlight!