Mathew Maguire will star in Playing For The Heart at The College Of Saint Rose to beneift the American Heart Association.

We recently chatted with the 21 year old senior from Saint Rose about his career and the release of his new album.

Q: When did you realize that you had a talent for playing piano?

A: I realized that I had a talent for the piano when I was very young, around age 4. I would come home from Church on Sundays and start to pick out the songs I heard during Mass. My parents signed me up for piano lessons, and I have been taking them ever since. At around the same time, we realized I had a visual impairment.  As a result, I have always relied on music and my ears as a key sense for my surroundings.  The first song I wrote was for a contest that I ended up winning when I was in seventh grade.

Q: How does it feel to have your first CD?

A: It feels really great. I was very excited to be able to go  into a recording studio and have my music professionally recorded. My goal is to go back to record some more material this summer and release another CD sometime in the fall.

Q: Who are your main musical influences?

A: I would say Jim Brickman is one of my big influences. I have seen him several times in concert and him being a fellow piano player with tremendous success it is only natural that his work influences my music. Also, through my studies at St. Rose, I have been exposed to and developed a liking for the works of Ludovico Einaudi and Eric Whitacre. Whitacre is probably who I look up to the most as a composer ; he is extremely talented.

Q: Why are you helping the American Heart Association?

A: Heart disease is something that has affected my family for years.  My grandfather passed from a heart attack, my grandmother had stents placed as a result of a heart attack and other family members  have high blood pressure. Over the past year, I have done my best to embrace a healthy lifestyle in hopes of reducing my risk for heart-related diseases.   I know many families are affected by this disease and this concert is a great way to support a truly worthy cause.

Q: What is your greatest musical goal?

A: I would say my greatest musical goals are to become a well-known artist, to record more music and to branch out into composing choral and orchestral pieces in addition to piano music. Someday,  I would love to perform with Eric Whitacre as well.

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