Matthew J. Brooks is a conductor who is noted for his ability to engage and connect with musicians and audiences of all ages. Having worked with past and present musicians of the L.A. Philharmonic, Dallas Opera Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and Richmond Philharmonic, as well as student musicians from middle school to graduate school, he brings a unique blend of humor, sensitivity, and leadership to each ensemble he conducts, regardless of age or experience.
Dr. Brooks is Director of Orchestras at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he conducts the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra and the UNO Chamber Orchestra, and teaches undergraduate music theory and graduate orchestral conducting. As part of a collaboration between the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and the UNO School of Music, Dr. Brooks was critical in creating the Nebraska Medical Orchestra, for which he is the founding music director and conductor. Starting in the fall of 2020, he will transition to a new role at UNO as Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities in Music & Medicine. In this new position, he will continue mentoring music students, but will also focus more on continuing and creating new collaborative initiatives with faculty, staff, and students at UNMC.
As an academic conductor, Dr. Brooks was previously on the music faculty at Shasta College in California where he directed the student orchestras, in addition to teaching music theory and aural skills. He has also conducted the James Madison University Orchestras in a number of regular performances, including annual concerts as part of Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program. Prior to that, he was the associate conductor of the UNLV Symphony with which he was involved in collaborations with Samuel Ramey, Frank Huang, Edgar Meyer, and Peter Schickele. In 2003 and 2004, he conducted the orchestra for the Nevada Artist-Entertainer Hall of Fame ceremonies honoring George Sidney and Tony Curtis, respectively. In addition to his orchestral conducting, Dr. Brooks has conducted a number of operas with the UNLV Opera Theatre and UNO Opera Theatre.
Dr. Brooks maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator having worked with musicians and ensembles both here and abroad. He has presented at state, national, and international conferences on topics ranging from conducting pedagogy to medical humanities, and is currently engaged in research related to music and wellness with colleagues from UNMC. He is the Assistant Editor for the College Orchestra Directors’ Association (CODA) Journal and Editor for the Nebraska Chapter of American String Teachers Association. He also holds affiliations with National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Nebraska Music Education Association (NMEA), American String Teachers’ Association (ASTA), and Pi Kappa Lambda -- the National Music Honor Society.
Dr. Brooks holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting, Pedagogy, and Literature.