In the Loop
Alumni News : Apr 11, 2014

Matthew Wardell named 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni

The UF Alumni Association will recognize School of Music alumnus Matthew Wardell (MM Music, 2010) as the College of Fine Arts’ 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni during the Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Breakfast on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Emerson Alumni Hall in Gainesville, Florida. Wardell, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, is Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, Ocala, Florida.

The UF Alumni Association established the Outstanding Young Alumni Award to recognize alumni who are 35 years of age or younger and have distinguished themselves in their profession and community.

“Matthew is an excellent young musician, conductor and community citizen,” said Dr. John Duff, Director of the School of Music. “Since being appointed Conductor of the Ocala Symphony, he has inspired new life and energy into the orchestra, making it a true source of pride for the community and surrounding region.”

Wardell earned his Bachelor of Music at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville. He continued his education by completing graduate studies at the UF School of Music with Dr. Raymond Chobaz. While at UF, Wardell served as Graduate Assistant and Associate Conductor of the UF Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Wardell has spent five summers at the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians in Hancock, Maine, studying with his mentor Michael Jinbo.

In 2009, Wardell began his tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. Since his appointment, the Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s ticket revenue has nearly doubled on an annual basis, concert attendance is up and the orchestra’s profile in the community has greatly risen. In June of 2011, Wardell was selected to be on the cover of Ocala Magazine’s “40 under 40” issue.

“I feel honored to be recognized like this by UF,” said Wardell. “UF provided me with so many opportunities. When I think about why I have the job I do now, it is all about my time at UF.” 

To learn about other College of Fine Arts honorees,