A West Liberty University music professor has received a rare opportunity and distinct honor with his selection as a participant in the Conductors Lab, held in Aix-en-Provence, France, July 21 – 25, 2014.

Wheeling musician and educator Dr. Matthew Inkster will be traveling to Provence, France, to conduct 12 members of the Berlin Philharmonic – widely considered one of the world’s best orchestras. Inkster has been selected as one of only a handful of conductors worldwide to take part in the workshop, which is a joint project between the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.Matthew Inkster conducting sized

“I am so excited about this very unique opportunity,” Inkster said. “The musicians coming from Berlin are themselves from six different countries, and the other participant conductors are from all over the world as well. This speaks to the universality of music, and I am looking forward to seeing their passion for the art and their own commitments to teaching from the conductor’s podium.”

The Conductors Lab is hosted by the Vanderbilt Center in Aix-en-Provence, France, and provides a weeklong cooperative learning environment for experienced conductors. Inkster had to submit a curriculum vitae and a 30-minute DVD of live performance work to be considered for the honor.

Participants conduct an ensemble of Berlin Philharmonic musicians and receive comments and critique in real-time directly from the musicians themselves. Unlike other workshops Inkster has attended in Colorado and Minnesota, the French lab has no master-conducting teacher. Instead, all feedback is contextualized in follow-up sessions between the musicians and participant conductors, offering conductors a rare opportunity for growth and improvement of skills.

Inkster, who also is the conductor of the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra, a post he’s held for the last eight years, is entering his 11th year as the director of instrumental activities and professor of music at West Liberty University where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and coordinates the brass area.

He is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician—most recently conducting honor and select groups in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, California and New York. He has specialized in conducting the music of our time, and he has led ensembles on several compact disc recordings of new music on American and European labels. His performances have been heard on national and regional NPR and worldwide on the BBC.

Inkster also is active as a trumpet soloist, recitalist and clinician and has performed in 45 states and across Europe. For 12 years, he was principal trumpet of the Symphony of the Mountains (Tennessee/Virginia), and he has held similar positions with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, the Chapman and Redlands Symphony Orchestras (Calif.). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, and he has competed in a number of the most prestigious trumpet competitions across the world: the Prague Spring International Music Competition, the International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, the National Trumpet Competition and the Music Teachers National Association’s National Collegiate Artist Competition.

Inkster is the West Virginia Music Educators Association Research and Grants chairman and has recently served as the composition contest chairman for the International Trumpet Guild.

He holds the degrees of Doctor of Music from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla., Master of Music from University of Redlands, Redlands, Calif., and Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo. Inkster also has taught in the public schools of Wyoming, California and Florida.

The Division of Music at West Liberty University offers undergraduate degrees in Music Education, Music Performance, and Music Technology. Among our many ensembles are University Chorus, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and the Hilltopper Marching Band. For complete information, please call 304-336-8930.