Matthew Garbutt, Principal Summer Pops Conductor

Press & Media

Listen to Matthew speak about his career as a conductor and musician when he sat down in 2012 with Jazz 88's Dave Drexler.


Matthew Garbutt has earned critical acclaim in the United States, Canada and the Far East for his innovative programming and artistry on the podium. Considered a versatile and exciting conductor, Mr. Garbutt has been hailed by audiences and critics alike. Each season he maintains a busy schedule of performances, conducting a wide range of music, from symphonies and symphonic pops to educational concerts. Mr. Garbutt has been Staff Conductor and Principal Summer Pops Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years. He has also been Interim Music Director of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conductor for the Kids Artz Festival.

Mr. Garbutt has conducted such classical artists as Andres Cardenes, Leonard Pennario, Gustavo Romero, Zina Schiff and the Partore Brothers. He has also conducted numerous Pops artists, including Frankie Valli, John Pizzarelli, Dave Brubeck, Dionne Warwick, José Feliciano, Mary Wilson, Eldar Djangirov, LeAnn Rimes, Dennis DeYoung, Amy Grant, Chris Botti, Michael Bolton, Roberta Flack, Ozomatli, Wilson Phillips, Nathan Pacheco, Michael Feinstein, Vanessa Williams, Boz Scaggs and Wynonna.

Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Garbutt began his musical studies on the tuba at age ten and conducting at age 16. He attended the Idyllwild School of Music and Arts, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California State University-Northridge and the California Institute of the Arts. He also attended the Academy for Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna and completed studies at Indiana University. His mentors include Lawrence Christiansen, Daniel Lewis, Peter Erős, Karl Ostericher and Maurice Abravanel.

When not on the podium, Mr. Garbutt also serves as Principal Tuba of San Diego Symphony Orchestra.