Peninsula Youth Orchestra Association in Gig Harbor

Balancing nurture with rigor and Compassion with ExcellencE


PYO YOUTH conductor

Matthew Underwood   was destined to be a teacher and a conductor.  The story goes that as soon as he was old enough to stand, he would wave his arms and "direct" the radio.  In junior high he was given an opportunity to direct a real orchestra and the rest, as they say, is history.  It was that moment, in eighth grade, that he decided that he would be a music educator.

With that focus, he launched himself into the University of Washington (a couple of times) and in the process earned his B.A., B.M. and M.A. in music education.  He has studied privately on the viola with Eileen Swanson (Northwest Chamber Orchestra), Paul Colletti (world renowned violist) and not Milton Katims (founder of the Seattle Symphony). 

Matthew began his teaching career as the instrumental music director at Charles Wright Academy and currently teaches string orchestra at Meeker Middle School and Stadium High School (The Castle) in the Tacoma Public Schools.  He has also been sought as an adjudicator for both solo and large ensemble contests.

He has been the Executive Director and conductor of the Gig Harbor Peninsula Civic Orchestra since its inception in 2004.  His leadership continues to expand the orchestra both in size and in the scope of literature the orchestra can perform. He joined PYO in January 2014 and the organization feels grateful and fortunate to have him aboard.

"So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning." -Aaron Copland

Photo by Erin Lund.