1. Faculty

Matt Young


"Young executed the Shostakovich with gravitas." —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Courses Taught

  • Viola Orchestral Excerpts


  • University of Kentucky
  • Yale School of Music
  • Cleveland Institute of Music


  • San Francisco Symphony
  • Minnesota Orchestra (2005-2012)
  • Cleveland Orchestra

Awards and Distinctions

  • Grand Prize, Fischoff Competition
  • McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship

Matt Young grew up on a farm in Kentucky, and began playing music at an early age with his family. He eventually studied at the University of Kentucky, the Yale School of Music, and the Cleveland Institute of Music with his mentor Robert Vernon.

Young has performed with the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Minnesota and Saint Paul orchestras, among many others. He has won the Grand Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Competition, and was the winner of a McKnight Fellowship for performing artists, as well as the Robert Vernon Prize in viola performance. In addition, Young has been featured as a soloist with the CIM Orchestra in Severance Hall, as a tenured member of the San Francisco Symphony in Beethoven's Opus 74 string quartet in a subscription concert, and as acting principal and soloist in Haydn's Symphony No. 6 under Raphael Frubeck de Bugos.

A founding member of local nonprofit Ensemble SF, he's very involved in community outreach in the Bay Area with low arts access communities, including Raphael House in the Tenderloin, the LGBT Center on Market, Juvenile halls in SF and Felton, and the Institute on Aging in SF.

Some of the students Young has taught and coached have won positions in the orchestras of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Saint Louis, as well as many regional orchestras.

What is your hometown?

Herndon, KY

What is your favorite recording?

The Cleveland Orchestra Szell Anthology.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Community outreach, nonprofit fundraisers, politics, hiking, travel, and food.

Who was your major teacher?

Robert Vernon.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Practice as if your life depends on it, perform as though you don't give a damn.”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

"Why isn't my spiccato working?"

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

Charlie Castleman's Quartet Program, 1998.

What was a turning point in your career?

Being accepted into Bob Vernon's studio at CIM.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?


What is your daily practice routine?


If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Mahler, Bach, and Dohnányi.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

Paris, 1915.

What are your most important collaborations?

Playing chamber music with members of Berlin Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Juilliard Quartet.

Who is a student you have had the privilege of teaching?

Meredith Kufchak (Pittsburgh Symphony). I’ve also have coached winners of auditions in Saint Louis, Dallas, Chicago, Boston Symphony auditions.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Ensemble San Francisco (Debut Album, 2019) (Schumann and Dohnányi)

Minnesota Orchestra: Complete Beethoven Symphonies

Minnesota Orchestra: Complete Sibelius Symphonies

San Francisco Symphony recordings (2012-Present)

Ujjwal, N. Ravikiran, Chitravina

What is your unrealized project?

Producing a web series on audition preparation, with demonstrations and tutorials for specific orchestral excerpts.