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Musician Profile: Matthew Zhou ’19

Courtesy of Zhou

Courtesy of Zhou

Jasper Long

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Matthew Zhou ’19’s commitment to music is nearly unrivaled here at Kent School. He is a member of the Kent School Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Clarinet Ensemble, Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, and Kentones. In addition to the multitude of music groups, he also takes clarinet classes with Ms. Dolak and practices this instrument as an after-school activity.

It’s no question that Zhou has a true passion for music. According to him, his favorite aspect of music is the satisfaction of performing the completed pieces after hours of practice and work.

“In Jazz Band, we often start off in a mess of sight-read music, but after working on the melody together, piecing together the harmony, figuring out the rhythms and balance of dynamics, and compensating for each other, the end product is a very beautiful piece. Seeing it come together really liberates me because I feel like my hard work paid off.”

Being part of so many ensembles means Zhou gets to play a wide range of music. He especially enjoys playing movies themes, like those from Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, or Great Escape.

“They’re just a lot of fun because the audience often recognizes it. Hearing us play it like it’s played in YouTube videos is also incredibly fulfilling.”

He also enjoys the individuality and self-expression involved in blues. In singing, he finds the complexity of chamber choir most impressive.

“We often have more separate parts, and seeing how they all balance and come together as a harmony, especially with the great acoustics in the chapel, is always a fabulous experience.”

While many may think participating in so many musical groups would be an impossible task, Zhou finds the whole thing rewarding.

“I don’t think of music as a chore,” he reflects, “I play music to relax and help me concentrate.” He credits his fellow musicians with making the process more bearable, saying, “making music is socializing for me.”

Zhou also enjoys a great relationship with his instructors, often dropping in during conference or free blocks to consult or discuss music with Mrs. Hobbs or Dr. Bouldin. He describes his lessons with Ms. Dolak as going beyond just practicing the clarinet.

“We talk about chapel music, the evolution of music, and how all that reflects generational differences.” All in all, what Zhou has learned from his music instructors certainly expands further than simply performing, and reaches into the theoretical side of music.

In college, Zhou hopes to join both student run and official school musical groups, be it an acapella group or orchestra. He relishes in having the opportunity to play with professionals and others who are at the top of their musical fields. In student run groups, he anticipates a greater deal of autonomy and genres, where he can fully explore his many interests. Of music, Zhou says it’s a “lifelong hobby”, and something he will always find relaxing and calming.

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Musician Profile: Matthew Zhou ’19