Matthew Wardell

MATTHEW WARDELL (b. 1983) began his tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra in 2009. When appointed Music Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, the Ocala Star Banner declared, “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 Master of Music at the University of Florida and is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree there with his mentor, Raymond Chobaz. Wardell has served as a guest conductor with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Gainesville Orchestra, Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Ocala Civic Theatre. In addition to purely orchestral pursuits, he thrives in the theatre and has appeared as conductor for the fully staged productions of A Little Night Music, La BohèmeToscaThe Miraculous MandarinPhantom of the OperaSusannahThe ImpresarioDido and AeneasDie FledermausSunday in the Park with George, and Camelot. As a composer, Wardell wrote music for the award-winning NPR podcast, Odd Ball, and co-wrote a new full-length score to the 1923 silent film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Wardell spent five summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians in Hancock, Maine studying with Maestro Michael Jinbo. He was fortunate to have been recognized as both an Osher and Quimby Family Foundation scholar and serve several summers in Hancock as an Orchestra Assistant. Wardell has been selected and participated in masterclasses 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 music. He believes programming traditionally core repertoire hand in hand with underrepresented composers and new music believing that good music is just that – good music. He is a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League and 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 being involved in his community and served six years as an elected official on Ocala’s City Council from 2015 to 2021. He enjoys traveling, good company, and attending Jacksonville Jaguars games – and even once attended a game that the Jaguars won. In 2019, he married the love of his life and partner, Pamela Calero. Matthew and Pamela have one dog, Buckley, who is probably up to no good at this very moment.

Matthew Wardell

Matthew Wardell

Music Director

MATTHEW WARDELL (b. 1983) began his tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra in 2009. When appointed Music Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, the Ocala Star Banner declared, “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 Master of Music at the University of Florida and is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree there with his mentor, Raymond Chobaz. Wardell has served as a guest conductor with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Gainesville Orchestra, Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Ocala Civic Theatre. In addition to purely orchestral pursuits, he thrives in the theatre and has appeared as conductor for the fully staged productions of A Little Night Music, La BohèmeToscaThe Miraculous MandarinPhantom of the OperaSusannahThe ImpresarioDido and AeneasDie FledermausSunday in the Park with George, and Camelot. As a composer, Wardell wrote music for the award-winning NPR podcast, Odd Ball, and co-wrote a new full-length score to the 1923 silent film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Wardell spent five summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians in Hancock, Maine studying with Maestro Michael Jinbo. He was fortunate to have been recognized as both an Osher and Quimby Family Foundation scholar and serve several summers in Hancock as an Orchestra Assistant. Wardell has been selected and participated in masterclasses 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 music. He believes programming traditionally core repertoire hand in hand with underrepresented composers and new music believing that good music is just that – good music. He is a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League and 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 being involved in his community and served six years as an elected official on Ocala’s City Council from 2015 to 2021. He enjoys traveling, good company, and attending Jacksonville Jaguars games – and even once attended a game that the Jaguars won. In 2019, he married the love of his life and partner, Pamela Calero. Matthew and Pamela have one dog, Buckley, who is probably up to no good at this very moment.

Raymond Chobaz

Raymond Chobaz

Principal Guest Conductor

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.

Margaret Dixon

Margaret Dixon

Director of Education and Community Outreach

Joshua L. Mazur

Joshua L. Mazur

Chorus Director

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 ocalasymphonyorchestra@gmail.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