Cal Performances announced Matthew Sadowski as UC Berkeley’s Director of Bands beginning in August. In this role, Sadowski will direct the University of California Marching Band—part of Student Musical Activities, administered by Cal Performances—and the music department’s University Wind Ensemble.
“We are delighted to welcome Matthew Sadowski to Berkeley as Director of Bands,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ. “He is an inspiring educator who possesses a rare combination
of expertise and artistry, qualities that promise great contributions to the Cal Band and the University Wind Ensemble, as well as to the quality of life of our community. With Matthew everything begins and ends with the music. We are confident that the student musicians of
Berkeley will benefit from his leadership.”
Sadowski, age 33, comes to Berkeley from the University of Georgia (UGA), where he recently
completed his doctorate in conducting. At UGA he was involved with the marching band, helping
to program concerts, engage audiences, educate players, and recruit new students. He was also a frequent guest conductor of the Hodgson Wind Ensemble and the school of music’s contemporary
chamber ensemble, Rote Hund Muzik. Sadowski rehearsed and conducted a wide variety of new and landmark works for wind ensemble, implemented new concerts, wrote drills, and arranged music for the Redcoat Band, traveling with the group for their performance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in January of 2018. He also taught undergraduate conducting courses and collaborated with faculty and colleagues in composition and performance.
Sadowski earned a master’s degree in wind conducting from Ithaca College in 2015, and from 2009–12 was the director of bands at Westview High School in Portland, Oregon, where under his
leadership the band program saw a 20% increase in enrollment. A community-minded educator, he
was also a founding member of the Beaverton Friends of Music, a coalition of parents, fellow music
educators, and community members that had a positive impact on the Beaverton School District’s
music programs. Sadowski earned his undergraduate degree in music education at Michigan State
University and has held directorships in Federal Way, Washington and Newport, Oregon.
“Teaching others how to give life-changing musical performances while learning from them about
their own backgrounds and interests is my passion,” said Sadowski. “I am excited to contribute to
the continued growth and success of UC Berkeley’s Marching Band and Wind Ensemble.”
The University of California Marching Band is one of the oldest college marching bands on the
West Coast and currently boasts a membership of over 200 students. The beloved Cal Band
performs at all Berkeley home football games, as well as at select away games. The California Straw
Hat Band, a subgroup of the marching band, performs throughout the year at various campus and
community events, at selected football and basketball games, and at volleyball and other sporting
events. The band was featured in the Super Bowl 50 Halftime show in 2016, and on the nationally
syndicated television program Wheel of Fortune, and toured China and Japan in 2016. The success of the Cal Band depends on the loyalty, devotion, and spirit of its members, who do not receive
academic credit or financial compensation for their involvement.
The University Wind Ensemble academic course offered through the music department is dedicated
to the study, practice, and performance of traditional and contemporary wind band repertoire. The
Wind Ensemble performs regularly on campus, including twice each semester in Hertz Hall. The
group toured internationally in Italy and Croatia in 2018.
Matthew Sadowski will make his debut conducting the Cal Band at the season-opening football
game (versus the North Carolina Tar Heels) in Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 1 at 1pm. He replaces long-time director Dr. Robert Calonico, who recently retired.