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Music Student’s Composition Makes its Debut at National Flute Convention

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – AUGUST 8, 2013Mathew Campbell, a music education major at The University of Texas at Brownsville, speaks passionately about his music.

CAPTION GOES HERE ALSO Mathew Campbell rehearsing with the Flute Choir in Eidman Hall.

“I write what I like to hear,” said Campbell, a 2010 graduate of San Benito High School. “At first, I never wrote for anyone else; I wrote for myself, what I liked, how it sounded, specific collections of notes, of sounds that made me feel happy, at peace.”

Twenty-year-old Campbell is especially pleased with his most recent piece that he composed for the UTB Flute Choir. He will conduct the Flute Choir’s inaugural performance of his “Ridin’ on the City of New Orleans” at the 41st Annual National Flute Convention in New Orleans that takes place Aug. 8-11.

Dr. Cristina Ballatori [Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the Flute Choir] suggested I write something that might premier at the convention,” Campbell said. “The theme was to be about New Orleans, and when I thought about new Orleans, it made me think of trains; I had always wanted to write a piece about a train.”

Campbell said it took about two months for him to compose the piece, finishing in November.

After lots of practice, the Flute Choir submitted the recording with Campbell conducting.

CAPTION GOES HERE ALSO Mathew Campbell rehearsing with the Flute Choir in Eidman Hall.

“The NFA Convention is the largest flute festival in the world, and thousands of flutists attend this annual gathering each summer,” said Ballatori. “This is the most prestigious invitation that this type of ensemble can receive. Performing at this event will be a tremendous opportunity for our music students, and we are especially proud to be the first flute ensemble from UTB to be selected to perform at the NFA Convention.”

Campbell said his inspiration came from many music styles, especially New Orleans jazz.

“I wrote the music without a care in the world, much like the street musicians – and of course, New Orleans has so much street jazz,” he said. “It’s fun; that environment, it’s so lively. I cannot wait to conduct this piece at the convention.”

Campbell is a percussionist and a composer. He said being a music student at UTB feels natural to him; his mother was a vocal major before she changed to English.

“That had so much influence on me,” he said. “I went to see my mother’s concerts and other concerts and I haven't stopped going since. I felt comfortable in Eidman Hall, and I already knew so many of the professors. The music faculty are very supportive. Dr. Ballatori, Carol McNabb, Martha Placeres and Dr. Tom Nevill – have all had a great influence on me. I love Dr. Nevill’s style; he works so hard and I appreciate everything he does for his percussion students.

Campbell plans on graduating from UTB in December 2014. He hopes to find a teaching position in secondary education and soon begin graduate school in music composition. 

CAPTION GOES HERE ALSO Mathew Campbell rehearsing with the Flute Choir in the TSC Arts Center.

“Composition is what I want to do with my life,” he said. “And I love to perform in a live venue. When you play music for an audience, it is in real time – there are no do-overs. It’s enticing, and it makes me want more. Not in a greedy way—it makes me happy.”

Campbell will conduct the Flute Choir in an NFA Flute Choir Showcase/Lobby Concert at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9 in the Galleria Lobby at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel where the convention is taking place.​​

​​Related story:

Students to perform at National Flute Convention in New Orleans​​​

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