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257 Fine Arts Center, Music wing
(413) 545-6056
Wind Studies website


Dr. Matthew Westgate is the Director of Wind Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting.

Matthew Westgate
Prior to his appointment at UMass, he was the Director of Instrumental Activities at Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH) where he conducted the Symphonic Winds, Chamber Orchestra, and Xavier Pep Bands. Matthew completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where he studied with Rodney Winther and his Masters Degree in Conducting at Western Michigan University where his teacher was Robert Spradling.

Dr. Westgate is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout New England and the Midwest, and he also performs regularly as a classical and jazz trombonist. In the summer months Matthew conducts the Wind Ensemble at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, MI.

In 2007, Matthew was chosen as one of eight conductors to conduct the Eastman Wind Ensemble as part of the first Frederick Fennell Conducting Masterclass, and in 2009 he was billed as one of the West Point Band's "Bernsteins of Tomorrow." He has also served as a conducting assistant in the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, in Lucca, Italy.  In spring of 2013, Dr. Westgate was awarded Cincy Magazine's "Outstanding Educator" Award for his work as a teacher and conductor in Cincinnati.  In 2015, he was a recipient of the Residential First-Year Experience (RYFE) Student Choice Award for going above and beyond to support first-year students at UMass.

While at Xavier University, Dr. Westgate created a groundbreaking conductor mentorship program for undergraduate music education majors, started an annual "Young Composer Commissioning Project" to connect musicians to up-and-coming composers, and brought in Xavier's first Ensemble-in-Residence: Double or Nothing Ensemble.  In May of 2014, Dr. Westgate and the Xavier University bands and orchestra traveled to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic on their first international performance tour.

His current research addresses "Real vs. Virtual Communication: The Increasing Importance of Building Community through Music Ensembles in the Age of Technology” and the wind chamber music of Swiss composer, Frank Martin. He is also working to bring a Full Score Edition of Rossini-Respighi's La Boutique Fantasque for wind band to publication.  His professional affiliations include: the College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association, and Massachusetts Music Educators Association.

In his spare time, Matthew is an avid ultra-marathon and marathon runner, triathlete, and hiker.  He is married to Erica Drake, a percussionist and teacher, and they have a daughter named Juniper.

Appointed 2014

Dance Department