While his fellow students are receiving their diplomas at MIT's Commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 9, senior Matthew Roitstein will be in Odense, Denmark, as one of only three Americans competing in the prestigious Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition.
Roitstein, who is working toward dual degrees in architecture and music at MIT, was one of 191 entrants for the competition, which runs from May 31 to June 9. Forty-eight entrants representing 21 nationalities were chosen by jury to compete in the contest, which is open to flutists under the age of 30.
Originally from Valencia, Calif., Roitstein began studying flute at age 8 with his mother, Rosy Sackstein. "I enjoyed the sound the flute created, and I definitely wanted to play some of the wonderful repertoire that I heard coming out of my mom's studio," he said. He received numerous honors in high school, and in the summer of 2001 he was a featured soloist, with his twin brother, Andrew, who plays bass cello, on the public radio program, "From the Top."
Since coming to MIT four years ago he has studied with Seta Der Honannesian through MIT's Emerson Scholars Program.
The Nielsen Flute Competition consists of four rounds, each with two different required works. Winners will be announced on June 9. Seven different prizes will be awarded, ranging from approximately $1,700 to $21,500. Winners will also be offered performing engagements at a number of upcoming international music festivals.
Principal flutist in the MIT Symphony Orchestra since 2002, Roitstein says that one of the things that drew him to MIT was the availability and accessibility of the music programs. "I can be as involved in music as I want without even having to major in it," he said, though he said he plans to complete both a music major and an architecture degree in spring 2007.
"I've been just as active a musician as conservatory students I meet at festivals like Aspen, but I also get to study architecture," he said.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 24, 2006 (download PDF).