Arts

HSO Artist Spotlight of the Month Matt Waid

Photo by Lucas Alexander.

Hendersonville – In this month’s Spotlight, Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra shares a recent chat with their Principal Bassist, Matt Waid.

Q: At what age did you first learn to play music? What instrument was it? 

I first learned to play music on the violin as a fourth-grader at the age of 9. There was a strings program at my elementary school in Augusta, GA that met in a small annex behind the school. The building was so challenged for space that there wasn’t enough storage room for any cellos and basses. It only had room for the much more diminutive violins and violas. I found out after I had switched to the double bass many years later that my first music teacher, Dr. Lynn Strong, was a professional bass player but she was teaching us the violin and viola. It was no wonder I had always felt like I was drawn to the bass!

Q: What inspired you to play classical music professionally? 

When I think back on how I first became inspired to become a musician, I always remember a speech given by the former director of the Brevard Music Center, Henry Janiec. He had recently resigned from the position a few years before I attended the summer music camp in 1999, but he was asked to return and share some knowledge and wisdom with the students.  I don’t remember his exact wording, but I do remember him saying that he felt we were the next generation of classical music, and it was up to us to keep the music going.  I felt like he was talking directly to me, and it made me feel called to continue studying music and to make it my profession.

Q: When did you start playing with the HSO? 

I started playing with the HSO back in 2009, and I became Principal Bass in 2011 after an audition for my peers and music director/conductor Dr. Thomas Joiner. I’m so thankful he chose me to lead the HSO bass section as it fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine to become a principal bass player for a professional orchestra.

Q: What do you do when you are not making music? 

Like many of my musician colleagues, I am also a music teacher and am currently teaching the Double Bass at Converse College. My other main passion is massage therapy. I have been a massage therapist for 12 years and have been working in downtown Greenville, SC for 7 years at Pure on Main. I also enjoy camping/hiking, making music with friends at home, spending time with my wife and our cat Cherry, and am most excited about the arrival of our first child this year around Thanksgiving!

Q: Since the Covid-19 restrictions have limited gatherings and live music, how has that changed your artistic routine of making music?

I have done some recording projects for local groups and have been preparing for a duet recital recently but Covid-19 has derailed most of my music-making opportunities this year.  Before Covid-19, my usual practice routine predominantly consisted of the music that I would have been performing in the near future. Without the need to practice for a specific concert, I am now afforded the opportunity to refine my sound and work on some fundamentals such as body mechanics and bow strokes while also reviewing some orchestral excerpts and solo pieces I haven’t played in a while.

Q: How do you think this health crisis will affect Classical Music long term?

Ultimately, I feel that the absence of music will make us want it more. My hope is that we remember this time when we couldn’t make music and never take for granted the times when we can.

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