Matthew Major is a violinist in the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra.
A member of the orchestra since 2013, he is a junior at Castro Valley High School and plans to become a violin soloist or a violinist for a major symphony orchestra after college.
He has performed under the batons of Oakland Symphony Director Michael Morgan and OSYO Principal Conductor Omid Zoufonoun as an OSYO second violinist in San Francisco’s Davies Hall, Disneyland in Anaheim, the Oakland Paramount Theater, and Holy Names University.
At age five, Major began private piano lessons from Lana Freund but switched to violin at age eight, taking lessons from Ms. Celia Vollvo at Holy Names University.
Debbra Wood-Schwartz is his private coach, and he continues taking lessons from both teachers.
He has been surrounded by classical music all his life at home.
“Music for me is more than sound, it is color, emotion, and excitement,” said Major. “Right now, my favorite piece of music is the ‘Scherzo Fantastique in G minor’ by Josef Suk.”
He has been invited to study this summer, along with other youth orchestra members, for a month of intensive violin training at the AMEROPA Musical Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, under internationally recognized music instructors.
He has attended the Advanced Suzuki Institute for Violin at Stanford University every summer for the past five years.
Major also plays in Holy Names University’s Youth Music Program, and in the CVHS Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. This spring, he won the school’s African American Achievement Award and was nominated for an African American Regional Educational Alliance in Visual Graphics & Performance Arts Award.
Next year the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra plans to perform in various locations in Cuba.