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3rd Week TT24 Newsletter - Towa Matsuda

Each week, the OUMS newsletter features an interview with someone who positively contributes to the Oxford music scene. This week, we sat down with violinist, singer, and new OUMS Vice President Towa Matsuda, to ask about his musical activities.

Towa Matsuda

Violinist and Singer

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m a 1st year Biomedic at Balliol. Beyond the practicals and tute essays, I play violin, occasionally sing and have also dabbled in a bit of conducting at school and Westminster Abbey. I’ve been enjoying performing/touring with OUO and associate-leading OUPhil alongside getting some amazing chamber music experience. I’m currently the OUPhil Social Secretary, Balliol College Music Society’s Concert Secretary and acting as the OUSinf Secretary. Oh yes, I’m also your new OUMS Vice President :))

What are you working on at the moment?

Too many things alongside prepping for Prelims ahaha. At the moment, I’m organising the Balliol Members’ concert (in Balliol Hall, this Sunday @ 20:30 - do come!), where I will be performing the Schubert String Quintet with fellow MCR balliolites. Given that the college doesn’t offer music academically, I find it really rewarding to be able to create a space where balliolites are able to share their musical hobbies/passion in an informal, stress-free setting. Of course, I’m looking forward to the OUO-OUJO concert next week as well as performing with OUPhil and OFO in the next few weeks too! When I do find time to practice, I have been myself back into some of the fugues from Bach’s sonatas as well as learning the Brahms violin concerto.

Within the executive and council, I’ve been working to form collaborations with organisations (local to more global) which will be beneficial in helping us make a bigger & long-term impact through our outreach projects and performance endeavours. I am particularly intent on getting talks going on with universities (inc. Oxford Brookes and Cambridge) to explore some ambitious committee ideas… 

What has your favourite musical experience been at Oxford so far?

Honestly, it’s just impossible deciding on a single experience but I’ve got to say the OUO Italy tour during the Easter Vac is one that will stay with me for a very long time - I realise it didn’t quite take place in Oxford but hopefully this still counts. It was the genuine camaraderie and enjoyment that came alongside every performance across the orchestra (alongside the exceptional food, espressos & amaro Jefferson’s..) with fine leadership from Mr Tommaso Rusconi -  also expert food connoisseur, negotiator & translator. Working with the Bologna University Choir on Elgar’s ‘From the Bavarian Highlands’ was an incredible privilege. My first Oxford uni concert is another experience I’ve got to include. It was definitely an emotional experience seeing all my friends come and support me co-leading OUPhil for Mahler 2 with OUChorus back in Michaelmas.

Where can you see yourself going in the future? 

It’s very difficult to say at the moment, but I do see myself being involved in music alongside whatever scientific or medical career I find myself in. Personally, I’ve always found music to be an incredible way of improving mental health alongside many cognitive processes and its led me to my intrigue in discovering its mechanisms and influence on future technologies; I may find myself following a neuro-focused route into applied research but we will see where the next few years take me!

Give us a music recommendation!

Definitely recommend listening to some of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s works - ‘aqua’ is one I often listen to when I’m just taking a lil stroll when I’m a bit fed up of a tute sheet or essay!


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