Matthew J. Brooks is an academic conductor who is noted for his ability to engage and connect with students, musicians, and audiences of all ages. A dedicated music educator, Dr. Brooks is equally at home on the podium and in the classroom, bringing a unique blend of humor, sensitivity, and leadership to each class or rehearsal.
Dr. Brooks is Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities in Music & Medicine at University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) where he teaches graduate orchestral conducting and undergraduate music theory in the School of Music. 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 in 2018, for which he is the founding music director and conductor. He is a courtesy faculty member in the UNMC College of Medicine and serves on the UNO Medical Humanities faculty. From 2018-2020, he was the Director of Orchestras, leading UNO's Heartland Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra. In his current, refined role, he will continue to work with the UNO Orchestras, but have greater opportunity to continue to develop more academic, musical, and research collaborations with faculty, staff, and students at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine and UNO as part of the developing Music & Medicine program.
Dr. Brooks previously served on the music faculties of Shasta College, Mary Baldwin University, Bridgewater College, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Highlights from his academic conducting include leading the James Madison University Orchestras in a number of regular performances, including annual concerts as part of Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program. As the associate conductor of the UNLV Symphony, he was involved in collaborations with Samuel Ramey, Frank Huang, Edgar Meyer, and Peter Schickele. During this time he was invited to conduct the orchestra for the 2003 and 2004 Nevada Artist-Entertainer Hall of Fame ceremonies honoring George Sidney and Tony Curtis, respectively.
Dr. Brooks maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator working with musicians and ensembles both here and abroad. Recently, he guest conducted an Omaha Symphony Music Mentors program, and numerous middle school and high school honor orchestras. 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. Dr. Brooks has recently co-founded the National Association of Medical Orchestras with colleagues from around the country who are dedicated to building greater community and shared resources among the nearly 30 medical orchestras across the U.S.A. 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), National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH), 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.
Dr. Matthew Brooks, ASTA National Conference (2020)