110 S.E. Watula Avenue
Ocala, FL 34471
Matt is passionate about Ocala's future. Most recently, he spearheaded the effort to renovate the old City Auditorium into the Reilly Arts Center. The effort included raising more than $2.5 million toward and managing the full renovation of the Old Works Progress Administration building. Matt now serves as CEO of the Reilly, overseeing both its artistic and administrative operations.
Matt was born in Jacksonville, FL and raised there and Memphis, TN before returning to north central Florida. He began his tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra in 2009 after having completed studies at the University of North Florida, University of Florida and the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock, MA. When Matthew was appointed Music Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, the Ocala Star Banner declared that "Wardell brings an impressive resume of musical and conducting training. Maybe more important than his music credentials is Wardell's youthful enthusiasm and unbashed zest. Wardell is not only a daring and dynamic choice as the Ocala Symphony Orchestra's new conductor, but a smart one."
In addition to his university studies, Matt has attended and participated in master classes with Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops and BBC Orchestra, Thomas Cockrell of the University of Arizona and studied for an extended time with conductor and composer Peter WesenAuer in Salzburg, Austria.
Matt is a champion of all kinds of music and art. He enjoys programming and conducting core repertoire arm and arm with pops and new music believing that good music is just that - good music. He enjoys traveling, good company and attending Jacksonville Jaguars' home games (even the ones they occasionally win.) He is a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League and serves or has served on the boards of the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission (OMAC), Young Professionals of Ocala (YPO) and the Centers.