Matthew Smith

Class Year



Geneva, Ill.


Music Performance

Matthew (Matt) Smith has known since high school that he wants to make a living playing keyboard for Broadway productions. Along with his love of piano, he also fell in love with the sound and complexity of the organ. 

Trying to fulfill that dream, Matt is a double music performance major on organ and piano. “Having two principal instruments can be very tough and demanding,” he said. “But there’s always something to play. It’s a very enriching major for me.” 

Since choosing Carthage, Matt hoped that he would still have many opportunities to perform on both his instruments. “So far, I haven’t been wrong!” 


“Ever since I started playing keyboard for pit orchestras for my high school, I knew I wanted to make my living on Broadway.” 

Matthew Smith, ’15

Career goal

“My goal is to move to New York City and make my living as a professional church organist and a keyboardist for the pit orchestras for Broadway musicals.” 

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

Dimitri Shapovalov. He’s extremely knowledgeable in music history, and I’ve learned a lot about looking at the world and its history in an aesthetic way from him.” 

Favorite class

“Music History II, taught by Dr. Shapovalov. There’s a lot of material to learn, but it was a very rewarding class and offered a new perspective to look at composers and their music.” 

Campus involvement

“I work for the Music Department as an accompanist for music theatre students. I’m also President of the 10% Society, the LGBT support-group for students and faculty on campus.” 

Toughest class

“Piano Literature, taught by Prof. Livingston. Not only is there a lot of reading to do, but there are also various pieces we have to analyze and play sections of in class. It can be nerve-racking having to learn pieces that fast!” 

Opportunities at Carthage

“There are a ton of opportunities to perform, either as a soloist, in an ensemble, or as an accompanist. There are so many ways for musicians to hone their craft and skill through performance.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“During Christmas Fest, when all the choirs and audience members sing “Silent Night” and light hundreds of candles together.” 

Favorite spot on campus

“The practice room with the good piano!” 

Biggest surprise so far

“I was pretty surprised at much money the school is willing to give to students, either through grants or scholarships. There are always plenty of ways to earn some more money for tuition.” 

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“He’d be surprised that I’ve already learned organ. I had just started taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old and I remember thinking that it would take me three decades to learn how to play the organ, and it only took about 10 years!” 

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Be ready to work really hard. I think those that work the hardest will get the most back out of the music.”