CFA remembers Music Professor Matthew Ruggiero
What Chaucer said of the Oxford scholar in The Canterbury Tales aptly describes Matthew as well: ” gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.”
A true Renaissance Man, Matthew Ruggiero touched countless lives through his musicianship, wisdom and gentle wit. Born in Philadelphia in 1932, Matthew received professional training in bassoon at the Curtis Institute of Music. He began his career performing chamber music in collaboration with Rudolf Serkin and Marcel Moyse at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, where he met his wife Nancy Cirillo. After spending three years as second bassoonist of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, Matthew moved to Boston in 1961 to assume joint duties as assistant principal bassoonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal bassoonist of the Boston Pops. In 1963, he began teaching music at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he remained a faculty member for the next several decades. In 1978, Matthew began a second career in academia by attending the Harvard Extension School, where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in both English and Italian literature. After retiring from the Boston Symphony in 1989, he pursued doctoral studies at Boston University, and received his PhD in Music and Literature at the tender age of sixty with a dissertation focusing on Verdi’s operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In recent years, Matthew continued in his multiple roles as musician, teacher, student and benefactor. In addition to teaching bassoon, he sat on juries for international bassoon competitions, taught Italian language courses and interdisciplinary courses at Clark University, Boston University, Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement and the Brandeis Adult Learning Center, and spent twenty summers traveling to Asia to coach bassoonists of the Asian Youth Orchestra. In 2003, Matthew founded the Boston Woodwind Society, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to promising woodwind musicians. Matthew died peacefully after a lengthy illness, surrounded by his family. He will be cherished as a loving husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Cirillo of Brookline, three daughters _ Eleanor Gilbert of Lexington, Claudia Goldman of Newton, and Lisa Ruggiero of Natick _ and nine grandchildren. Matthew will be interred at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in a private ceremony for immediate family. A memorial service will be held at Friends Meeting at Cambridge, 5 Longfellow Park, Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 2:00 p.m. on March 23rd. In the words of a colleague, “Matthew will be remembered as a superb gentleman, a marvelous musician, a peerless bassoonist and a deeply valued teacher.”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to endow a scholarship in Matthew’s memory at the Boston Woodwind Society, P.O. Box 470413, Brookline, MA 02447 (www.boswinds.org).
Keefe Funeral Home www.keefefuneralhome.com
Matthew Ruggiero passed away February 1, 2013.