Conductor, Springfield Youth Sinfonia
Dedicated practice and preparation have led the Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestras to their Season Premiere concert at Belchertown High School on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. The sense of growth and community fostered in the Youth Orchestra is something that Maestro Matt Bertuzzi, the conductor of the Springfield Youth Sinfonia (SYS) has valued on his musical journey and seeks to instill in the students he works with.
Maestro Bertuzzi has a deep connection to Western Massachusetts, playing cello and percussion throughout his childhood in Longmeadow Public Schools. His second year as the SYS conductor marks a full circle, returning to the orchestra where he once played timpani two decades ago. A Springfield Symphony Orchestra subscriber with his grandfather since childhood, he fondly recalls the friendship his grandfather fostered with the great violinist Isaac Stern that led to Stern’s first performance with the SSO.
Pursuing a Career in Music
As an undergrad at UMass Amherst, Bertuzzi received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, studying cello with Astrid Schween before going on to complete his Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting. He studied with Lanfranco Marcelletti, who introduced him to the world of opera festivals in Italy, allowing him to hone his natural conducting skills. Bertuzzi returned to Springfield post-graduation and assumed his current role at Springfield Honors Academy teaching various subjects from Beginning Band to AP Music Theory.
Making His Mark in Springfield
Bertuzzi’s involvement with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra board allowed him to develop innovative educational programs, fostering a deeper connection between young musicians and the symphony. His Real-Time Concert Notes program, conceptualized from a student’s text message, revolutionized the concert-going experience by making it more interactive. The program and its accompanying app, XXGlen were even the focus of a TEDx talk that Bertuzzi gave in 2018.
As SYS conductor, Bertuzzi emphasizes inclusivity. The orchestra is a no-cut ensemble, welcoming students with a range of experiences. His expertise as a music educator enables him to tailor arrangements to fit each player’s needs, ensuring that everyone finds their place in the orchestra. This approach has led to significant growth in the SYS, from seven just after the pandemic to over thirty-five members so far this year, a testament to Bertuzzi’s impact.
A Fresh Musical Perspective
The 2023 Season Premiere concert on November 19 showcases Bertuzzi’s shift in programming. Moving away from solely classical pieces like Haydn and Mozart, he has incorporated more relatable music such as music from ‘Star Wars’, ‘West Side Story’, and this year, an overture from ‘The Muppet Show’. His selections aim to make music education more accessible and meaningful to students.
The SYS Experience: Beyond the Music
Bertuzzi believes that being part of the SYS is beneficial beyond music. Drawing students from a diverse range of schools across Western Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, and Southern Vermont, it’s an opportunity for young musicians from various backgrounds to come together and develop a unique bond. Through his work with the Youth Orchestras, Maestro Bertuzzi remains committed to nurturing the next generation of musicians and helping them find their voice, both in music and in life.