Senior and LJCDS lifer Matthew Wirtz’s main passions are music, innovation and international relations.
He first picked up the violin during an after-school program at LJCDS. “I probably wouldn’t have started music if I hadn’t gone to Country Day,” shares Matthew. “Most schools don’t have music programs in their Lower Schools.” Matthew has continued on to play for both the LJCDS Orchestra and the San Diego Youth Symphony. He also strives to provide other San Diego children with the opportunity he was given in second grade to learn an instrument.
When he was in seventh grade, Matthew and his older brother, Cameron ’16, worked with music educator Joan Diener to create Musicians With a Purpose (MWAP). “Essentially we try to connect music to the San Diego community,” explains Matthew. “For example, we go to underserved elementary schools, retirement communities and other nonprofits and we play. But also at these elementary schools, we will try to teach and bring music to inspire the kids to have that same opportunity that I and other students at Country Day have had to explore music.”
MWAP allowed Matthew to grow and develop skills to connect with others in the community. The organization started with only four string musicians, and it has grown to over 40 singers, string and wind musicians. “We’ve been able to take all the talents that are available at Country Day—which is quite a wide variety of talents—and combine them to bring them to the community and help share the beauty and power of music in that way,” shares Matthew.
Matthew combined his passion for music with innovation to develop an app with his brother called NuTune, which helps musicians learn scales. Even though Matthew was never able to formally take a design and innovation course at LJCDS because it didn’t fit into his schedule, he was still able to connect with teachers for help. Director of Design and Innovation Dan Lenzen helped prepare Matthew for his pitch to the Torrey Explorer’s Fund, as well as provided him with insight to developing the creative side of innovation. “One of the cool things about the Innovation Lab is that they’re very available,” explains Matthew. “Even if you’re not able to take one of the classes, they’re still there as a resource.”
“Country Day was an amazing place to explore what I’m passionate about, but it also taught me that in order to explore the things you want, it’s important to connect with the people that are around you,” remarks Matthew. “Because at the end of the day, you can try to do everything on your own, but everything is better, more fun, easier and more exciting when you’re doing it with other people.”
Matthew will be attending Stanford in the fall, and he hopes to obtain a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in international relations.