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Matt Aubin, Conductor

There are multiple connotations to the concept of carrying weight. The first thing that comes to mind is responsibility, and the sense that “the buck stops here.” That’s been with me my whole life — early on as drum major of my high school marching band, followed by being a high school band director. I had to deal with a lot of crazy situations while being in charge of a bunch of high school kids, like having a student pulled in by police at Disney World while on a band trip. I’m responsible. And having a kid that got kicked out of the All Eastern Band Festival because he was smoking weed in the hotel. I’m responsible. I’m the one with the student at the hospital at 3 a.m.

When a former student reaches out and tells me that something I did had an impact, that’s really cool. Yet switching from being a high school director to a professional conductor made me feel that I had to hide my former experience because the assumption that “Those who can do; those who can’t teach,” is so strong in our culture.

I’m never totally unplugged. I never completely have my guard down. As the Executive Director of JSO, the Artistic Director of Chelsea, having to raise money, make decisions, having to tell a long time musician that it’s time to retire — these are responsibilities that come with weight.

At the same time, being a conductor carries weight. As a conductor, I don’t have any barriers. Playing an instrument inherently has barriers. As a conductor, I get to play the orchestra. At its best, it’s an experience of both giving and taking. It’s a privilege, not an ego thing.

When I get to choose who to bring in as a soloist or as a composer, I’m giving them opportunities as individuals, as well as creating experiences for my community and myself. I like helping people professionally. I can use my ability to carry weight to empower others.

I am also uniquely positioned to promote Fernande Decruck’s work. This is a gift. I want to keep the momentum going. I want to make sure her children see it.\


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