MATTHEW WARDELL (b. 1983) began his tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra in 2009. When Matthew was appointed Music Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra the Ocala Star Banner declared that, “Wardell brings an impressive resume of musical and conducting training … Maybe more important than his musical credentials is Wardell’s youthful enthusiasm and unabashed zest … Wardell is not only a daring and dynamic choice as the Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s new conductor, but a smart one.”
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Wardell began his undergraduate work in percussion and composition at the University of Florida and received his Bachelor of Music cum laude at the University of North Florida working under Charlotte Mabrey. Wardell continued his education by earning a Masters of Music at the University of Florida with his mentor Raymond Chobaz. Matthew is currently completing is Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) at the University of Florida. In April of 2009, Matthew conducted 2 performances of Puccini’s Tosca with only one day’s notice. The performances were hailed as “first-rate” and “inspiring.” Matthew’s ability to step in at the last moment was described as a “magnificent feat … when the stakes were high, Mr. Wardell came through brilliantly and proved his mettle.” Matthew spent five summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians in Hancock, Maine studying with Michael Jinbo. Wardell has been fortunate to have been recognized as both an Osher and Quimby Family Foundation scholar. He is very proud to be part of the school’s long heritage of forming clear and dutiful conductors and considers Hancock a second home. In addition, Matthew has attended and participated in master classes with Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops and BBC Orchestra, Thomas Cockrell of the University of Arizona, and studied for an extended time with conductor and composer Peter WesenAuer in Salzburg, Austria.
Matthew is a champion of all kinds of orchestral music. He enjoys programming and conducting core repertoire arm and arm with pops and new music believing that good music is just that – good music. He is a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League and serves or has served on the boards of the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission (OMAC), Young Professionals of Ocala (YPO), and The Centers. In addition to his musical pursuits, Wardell is passionate about local government and in 2015 was elected to City Council, representing Ocala’s 4th district. He enjoys traveling, good company, and attending Jacksonville Jaguars’ games – Duuuuuuvaaaalll. In 2019, he married the love of his life partner, Pamela Calero. Mr. Wardell is also an electric vehicle enthusiast and sometimes spends a little more time with his Tesla Model 3 than Pamela would like. Matthew and Pamela have one dog, Buckley, who is probably up to no good at this very moment.
To find out more about Matt and what he and his family are up to, check out www.matthewwardell.com.
Driven to make impacts on the broader community and to be a catalyst for growth, Matt has extensive experience as a orchestra conductor, educator, Artistic Director, Chief Executive, and has been instrumental in significant, multi-million dollar fund-raising campaigns. Believing we owe our communities much, he successfully ran for public office in 2015 and was elected as a member of Ocala, Florida’s City Council, a position he was re-elected to in September of 2019.
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Raymond Chobaz, Professor of Music and Conductor Laureate of the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra, has been music director and conductor of the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra since 1982 and the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra from its inception in 1983 to 2001. He studied at the Basel Conservatory and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Switzerland, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree summa cum laude in music theory. As an International Rotary Scholar at the University of Utah he received both a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting under Joseph Rosenstock and a Ph.D. in music composition and electronic music under Vladimir Ussachevsky. Further studies allowed him to work with Herbert Blomstedt in San Francisco, Kyrill Kondrashin in Amsterdam, Raphael Kubelik in Lucerne, Erich Leinsdorf in New York City, Witold Rowicki in Vienna, and Georg Tintner in Prague. Additional training in contemporary music interpretation he acquired from Pierre Boulez in Paris and Arthur Weisberg in New York City.
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Joshua L. Mazur
Joshua L. Mazur, Conductor, enjoys a budding career as a singer, conductor, and educator. Most recently featured in the tenor roles of Don Jose (Valdosta State University Guest Artist) and The Phantom (Ocala Symphony Orchestra) he was seen previously in principal baritone roles such as Silvio (Imperial Symphony Orchestra) and Gianni Schicchi (Florida Southern College Opera Theater). He has sung on masterclasses for such artists as Stella Zambalis, Mark Thomsen, Thomas Potter, Victoria Livengood, and Jennifer Larmore. He won the TBNATS “Most Promising Male Singer” award three consecutive years and was the Florida state winner of the NATS Artist Award in 2014.
In addition to his work as a singer, Joshua is an accomplished pianist. He serves Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Gainesville, Florida as Director of Music Ministry and Organist as well as the Ocala Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Capella Nova, Inc. as Music Director and Conductor.
Joshua has composed music for choirs and orchestras as well as scored soundtrack music for the films AFTER MIDNIGHT (2016) and I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVED YOU (2018). In 2011 he recorded vocals to the soundtrack for THE VOICES OF MARIEL, a film about the participants of the Mariel boat lift in 1980. The film was screened at several national film festivals to great critical acclaim. He is published exclusively by Musicspoke.
Mr. Mazur holds a Bachelors degree in Voice Performance from Florida Southern College and a Masters degree in Voice Performance and Conducting from the University of Florida.
The Ocala Symphony Orchestra will be announcing auditions for the 2021-2022 season soon!
Please check back for more details. Announcements and positions will be included on this site as well as on the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and Reilly Arts Center Facebook pages. If you’d like to be included on our announcement list, please Email OSO Librarian and Personnel Manager, Margaret Dixon, at email@example.com.
Our OSO Musician Spotlights
You’ve seen them up on stage, you’ve heard them play, but now get to know a little bit more about our talented OSO musicians!
Pamela Mireles – Violin