Symphony Orchestra Performance features New Soloist

A new faculty member, Matthew Markham, was featured as a baritone soloist in this year’s first Symphony Orchestra concert at the University of Wsiconsin-Stevens Point last Wednesday, October 10.

The concert was conducted by Patrick Miles, who has been the Orchestra Conductor at UWSP for 23 years.

“I like to feature new faculty as soloists so the audience can hear them perform,” Miles said.

This was Markham’s first vocal performance. He performed two songs by Beethoven, both sung in German, which is one of his favorite languages.

“I really like the sound of it,” Markham said.

Markham, originally from North Carolina, is the new Assistant Professor of Voice. He transferred here from New York, where he was teaching at New York University. He received an email about the Symphony Orchestra performance when he got the job offer in May.

Markham has always had a love for music and has been singing for as long as he can remember.

“I never remember not singing. My mom tells me I developed my lungs because I cried all the time as a baby,” Markham said.

When Markham was three or four years old, he was already singing his first solo.

“I did my first solo in preschool. I told my mom I was going to teach the class a song,” Markham said.

Everyone always told Markham that he could carry a tune, although he never thought it would be classical music.

“I didn’t grow up listening to opera. I listened to the radio and hymns in church,” Markham said.

When Markham was fourteen years old, he started taking voice lessons.

“My teacher and I are still friends, and I still go to him for advice,” Markham said.

Markham also enjoys writing poetry.

“I consider myself to be as much of a poet as a musician. It’s equal to me,” Markham said.

Markham loves to be able to sing songs that he’s lived through. For him, it’s a completely artistic kind of experience.

“Music has the ability to transcend us and take us to a better place. Voice is the only instrument that has the ability to sing words,” Markham said.

Markham loves being able to meet interesting people and engage in one-on-one voice training.

“Each voice is so different. It’s like mining for gold. The journey with a student is fun to discover their natural, free voice,” Markham said.

Markham and Miles both like being able to open up doors for other people. They learn just as much from their students as their students do from them.

“Working with the students is the best part, without a doubt. There’s never been a day where I’ve said, ‘I wish I didn’t have rehearsal today.’ I love working with them,” Miles said.

Rachel Pukall

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