Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz is in his second year as the assistant conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra.
And he’s been busy.
The Cincinnati-native, who was named to the position in July 2017, has led the orchestra in various Pops and educational concerts while also serving as the music director and conductor of the Canton Youth Symphony, which now boasts three orchestras with students ranging from second grade to high school.
Even on nonperformance, nonrehearsal days, Jaroszewicz is actively deconstructing music for future performances.
“Most often, I’m just learning the repertoire for the upcoming concerts, which is a time-consuming and intensive process,” he said.
Jaroszewicz became fascinated with the idea of being on the podium as a conductor at a young age. He was exposed to orchestras as a boy when his parents regularly took him to Cincinnati Symphony concerts, and he was close to his great uncle, Joseph Wilcox Jenkins, a prolific composer of choral and concert-band works.
“I would daydream about (being a conductor),” said Jaroszewicz, who attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts before graduating from Walnut Hills High School in 2008. “I would check out CDs from the library and I would go into my room and wave my arms to the music, just to see how it felt.”
It was during his freshman year at Brown University in 2009 that Jaroszewicz, then 19, was given his first chance to conduct an orchestra. It was a fully staged campus production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Iolanthe.”
He said conducting is something he feels throughout his body.
“It’s like this feeling that starts in your heart and spreads to every bone and muscle,” said Jaroszewicz, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Brown and a master of music in orchestral conducting from the Mannes College of Music in New York City. “There are some moments in music where it totally wells up inside of you. It’s the most incredible feeling.”
In 2015, Jaroszewicz and a friend started their own opera company, Apotheosis Opera, and mounted a fully staged English-language production of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser.” It boasted an orchestra of 70 and a chorus of 25.
Some of his other conducting experiences in New York and New England include the Buffalo Philharmonic, Mannes Opera and Wakefield Choral Society. Other positions he’s held include accompanying The Charles River Chorale and Children’s Choir, and choir director and organist at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Holliston, Massachusetts.
When he’s not commanding the baton or marking up a score for an upcoming performance, Jaroszewicz often can be found in a pool or on the ski slopes.
A competitive swimmer since age 8, he continues to compete through U.S. Masters Swimming, even receiving All-American honors in long-distance relay in 2014 and 2017.
“It’s a lifelong sport, and it’s great for you,” said Jaroszewicz, who lives in Cleveland. “I always feel better after I swim. I conduct better after I swim because it helps clear my head and make me focus deeply.”
Jaroszewicz says downhill snow skiing gives him the same adrenaline rush he feels when he’s conducting.
“I just love being out on the mountain in the middle of nowhere covered by snow-covered slopes and pine trees,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful feeling.”
Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz’ local favorites:
Gervasi Vineyard. “My family and colleagues have sort of developed a tradition of going there after my concerts.”
Most memorable spot:
“This may sound weird, but the Akron-Canton Airport. It was there while waiting to board a plane back to the East Coast, that I took the call from Michelle Mullaly telling me I was being offered a job with the Canton Symphony Orchestra.”
Favorite local theater:
Canton Palace Theatre. “I recently had an opportunity to conduct a fully staged ballet there with the Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra and Ballet Le Reve of Canal Fulton. It is a gorgeous historical venue that has been beautifully renovated.”
Favorite lunch spot:
Cultured Coffee & Waffles. “I’m not a coffee drinker, but I will never say no to chicken and waffles!”
Favorite place to see live music:
“Umstattd Hall at the Zimmermann Symphony Center, of course! My job might be in jeopardy if I gave any other answer!”