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Graduate Assistants

Matthew Taylor (DMA)MTT Headshot

Matt Taylor is a DMA student at the University of Georgia, pursuing his degree in Choral Conducting on a Hoveland Choral Fellowship. In his time at UGA, Matt has worked as the graduate assistant for the Hodgson Singers and University Chorus, as well as chorus master for the UGA Opera Chorus. Before moving to Athens, Matt was an associate choral director at Wando High School in Charleston, SC, where he directed the intermediate and advanced treble choirs. Matt has served as a conductor for district and university honor choirs in South Carolina. He has led church choir workshops and directed high school choirs across the southeast as a guest conductor. His education has included additional studies at the Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute, the University of Michigan, and the Eastman School of Music. In 2022 he was selected by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir as one of five emerging conductors from across North America, and spent a week in residency with the TMC as a student and guest conductor.

Matt has performed in collegiate, community, and professional choirs as a vocalist. In addition to choral music, Matt is an active instrumentalist and composer. As a choral arranger he has produced works for churches, high schools, and universities. He holds studies in classical and jazz performance on the double bass. Matt has been a career-long member of the American Choral Directors Association, and has served twice as a member of the ACDA Southern Region Conference Committee. In 2022 he was selected to present at the ACDA Midwestern Region Conference in Chicago, IL.

Matt holds degrees in music from Samford University (Composition) and Louisiana State University (MM Choral Conducting).


Erika Tazawa (DMA)

Erika Tazawa is a second-year doctoral student in Choral Conducting at University of Georgia. Tazawa enjoys a versatile and collaborative musical career, having background as a choral singer, chamber and orchestral pianist, vocal coach, and a conductor.

A recipient of the prestigious Stern Fellowship in vocal accompanying, Tazawa has collaborated with leading vocal artists and choral ensembles internationally and has served as musical staff for American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute, and the Atlanta Opera. Since 2016, Tazawa has been the vocal coach of Kennesaw State University Opera Theater.

A nationally-recognized specialist of contemporary music, Tazawa actively performs with chamber ensemble Bent Frequency, which focuses on socially conscious programming and championing works by women, composers of color and LGBTQ+. Gramophone UK featured her solo piano album Rhythm of Silence in review: "such intelligent programme-building and committed performances warrant serious attention and exposure." She has premiered over 40 works, including four one-act operas as a music director.



Jack Perdue (MM)

Jack Perdue is a conductor, vocalist, and music educator hailing from Sykesville, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree and began his studies in choral conducting soon after. During his time at UMD, Jack had the opportunity to collaborate with many world-class ensembles including most notably the Baltimore and National Symphony Orchestras. He was also the director of two student-led ensembles: a men’s ensemble specializing in vocal chamber music, and an early music ensemble comprised of both college students and community members. Prior to working at the University of Georgia, he studied voice with Bass-Baritone Kevin Short and conducting with Dr. Edward Maclary. 

Jack has been active as a conductor of church music, having held positions at several churches of varying denomination. Most recently this has included his position as Music Director at First Christian Church in downtown Athens, where he leads weekly anthems and larger-scale holiday presentations. 

   Jack currently serves as a graduate assistant in the choral department at UGA and is pursuing a masters degree in choral conducting.

Daniel Shafer (DMA)