Matthew Lee

Perfecting Performance in Boston

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In September I will be relocating from Christchurch, New Zealand where I have spent the last six and a half years living, studying and working, to Boston in the United States. I will be undertaking study at Boston University in their prestigious Performance Diploma programme. 

The Journey So Far:

I have always loved the sound of the flute and especially the sound of the flute in an orchestra. One of my earliest musical memories is of attending a New Zealand Symphony Orchestra concert, where the first piece of the programme was Debussy's Prelude to An Afternoon of a Faun, which starts with just a lone flute. I was enchanted on first hearing and thought, "I have to do that!"

Fast foward many years and I completed my Master of Music in 2017 at the University of Canterbury, studying under the expert tutelage of Anthony Ferner. To further my musical knowledge I looked overseas on where to go next and applied and auditioned for many schools in the United States, where I was accepted into the Performance Diploma programme, studying under renowned teacher and flute player Linda Toote.

Coming from humble roots in small town New Zealand, moving to one of the major cultural hubs in the United States is just incredible. I was honoured to be awarded a generous scholarship based on my audition at Boston University. 

Why Boston?

Boston is one of the most cultural places in the United States. Home to the world famous Boston Symphony Orchestra, and many other regional orchestras, music is well and truly alive in this city. I was able to spend a week in Boston in February while auditioning, and between the BSO and various other musical institutions I was able to go to a different concert every single night. To be surrounded by such high music making constantly is a dream!

Boston is also a sort of flute-hub, with almost all of the major flute makers being based in or around Boston. This means that the level of flute playing and participation of the flute community is incredibly high!

Boston University also has one of the best Orchestral Programmes in the country. Lead by Maestro Bramwell Tovey (Former conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), I am incredibly excited to make music alongside my fellow classmates. 

What next:

While I was incredibly fortunate to be offered a generous scholarship to study at Boston University, it does not cover all my tutition, and there are also other fees, including health insurance that I will have to pay for once I arrive in the United States.

Your donation will go towards covering the remainder of my tution and these various extra costs. 

Music has been the biggest thing in my life for as long as I can remember and I am incredibly excited to take this next step on my journey. I hope you will join me!


  • Life at BU!


    I can’t believe it, we are still a week out and we have jumped to 94% everyone who has supported me on this journey has my utmost thanks and gratitude.

    For this update I thought I would tell you a little about my life at BU. Currently life is pretty boring at BU, I get up, go into school, practice and come home. This all sounds fairly normal for a music student right? Well the thing is I am practicing for between 4-5 hours everyday. For string players and pianists this is fairly normal, but for wind and brass players we tend to get exhausted (or chopped), as our embouchure (or lips) just stop wanting to work. 

    But for some reason being at this place, surrounded by so many amazing, talented and dedicated musicians just makes me want to practice and get better! 

    We have now learnt all of our ensemble placements for the first concert of the year and I am delighted to announce I have been placed in the Chamber Orchestra. My colleague and I are splitting the programme up between us so we all get a chance at playing first and second/piccolo. Rehearsals start Monday for what should be a fantastic programme! Ravel Le Tombeau De Couperin, Joan Tower, Made in America, and Tchaikovsky Suite No. 4. The Ravel is such an amazing piece and is one I have wanted to play for a long time so I am delighted to finally be able to play it!

    Concert wise it has been a bit quiet since my last update, but things start to kick off this Sunday and then more and more concerts are coming up. Of particular excitement to me is the Handel & Haydn Society Concert, the H&H Society is a period instrument orchestra, meaning the attempt to recreate how the music of earlier composers was played back in the day. It should be an exciting and amazing concert!

    Can’t wait to see you all again soon!


  • Week one down!


    So I have now been at BU for a week and it has been a fantastic first week!

    We have had ensemble placement auditions to figure out our spots in the University Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble which I thought went pretty ok. Hopefully will find out what pieces I'll be playing in soon! Fingers crossed I've been put in Sibelius 5, one of my bucket list pieces!

    I also had a lesson via skype today! My teacher, Professor Toote, is currently touring Europe with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, so we had a lesson all the way from Leipzig, I can't wait to practice what we worked on in our lesson.

    Last night I managed to get a free ticket to the Boston Ballet and it did not dissapoint! It was a tribute to Jerome Robbins (of West Side Story fame), and included music by Leonard Bernstein! The orchestra played superbly and the dancing was one of the most beautiful things I've seen ever!

    Everything is a go here! Tomorrow is the Pappoutsakis winners recital, I am sure it will be an amazing an inspiration recital!

    Keep donating and sharing with your friends, family and colleauges!

    See you next time,


  • I’ve arrived!!


    Thank you to everyone who has donated so far!

    I have been in Boston for almost a week now and it has been an intense week! 

    Firstly, I almost didn’t make it to Boston, because my flight to Vancouver from Melbourne was delayed by over and hour so I missed my connecting flight from Vancouver to Boston. I ended up staying in Vancouver overnight and spending time with a friend who lives there, so all worked out well in the end.

    After that drama I arrived on Monday evening and then had a lesson the next day! This went for around 2 and a half hours and it was one of the best lessons ever. I went away with so many exciting ideas to implement in my practice! 

    We have large ensemble auditions on Tuesday where we will find out our placements in Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. There are some fantastic concerts planned for the year so I am excited to see what I will be playing!

    Until next time, thank you so much to everyone again!!

    See you on the other side,