Christine Mata Eckel, Concert Orchestra Conductor since 2000, is a native of Fairfield, CT, where she began studying piano at the age of 5. She added violin in fourth grade, and in sixth grade, her heart fell in love with the sound of the clarinet. She is grateful for the excellent well-rounded music education she received in the Fairfield Public Schools. Ms. Eckel has fond memories of playing in the Norwalk Youth Symphony, especially under the direction of Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and of the opportunity to play in New York’s Carnegie Hall. Ms. Eckel holds both a Bachelor of Music (with Distinction; ‘97) and a Master of Music (’03) in Education from the UW-Madison. Her primary clarinet teachers were Richard Shillea (adjunct Fairfield Univ. & Juilliard Pre-College Div.) and Linda Bartley (UW-Madison).
Ms. Eckel has played in the Honor Band of America, under the direction of William Revelli and John P. Paynter, the All-New-England, Connecticut (CT) All-State, and CT-Regional Band and Orchestra, as well as the Fairfield University Orchestra, Madison Wind Ensemble, and Edgewood Chamber Orchestra. While attending UW, she played in Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta, and Wind Ensemble. In addition to Prof. Bartley, Ms. Eckel’s primary professors at the UW were James Smith, Gerald Olson, and David Becker. In 1996, Ms. Eckel enjoyed the world-wide perspectives she gained through collaboration with chamber and orchestral musicians at music festivals in Switzerland and Italy.
Prior to her appointment as conductor in 2000, Ms. Eckel was the woodwind sectional coach and a chamber ensemble coach for WYSO. She has been a judge/clinician for WI School Music Association (WSMA) events and clinic festivals. Ms. Eckel also serves as an administrative assistant each summer and has been on the faculty for the UW-Madison Summer Music Clinic. Ms. Eckel has taught band/instrumental music in Madison since 1997, primarily with Our Lady Queen of Peace School (1997-present) and Eagle School (1998-2021). She performs on clarinet with the Pentissimo Woodwind Quintet and is the mother of two wonderful children! Ms. Eckel hopes to spark a continuing interest in the fullness of the symphonic orchestra learning experience—with all the contours, textures, nuances, and depth possible of performing in such a group.