Unconventional Students at Rice 2019: Matthew Toffoletto hears the world in a new way

Familiar with Houston before entering Rice, Matthew Toffoletto says he now sees the city completely differently as he approaches graduation.

“Rice has given me the opportunity to get to know the city in a totally new way,” he said. “Everything that I’ve learned here in four years has almost totally changed how I think about everything – art, language, music, the universe.”

Toffoletto admits his double-major in composition and linguistics is not a common pairing. “These degrees give me the opportunity to engage with a new field of research and a new way of studying, thinking about and writing about music,” he said.

Toffoletto found opportunities he never imagined and approached music in a new way at Rice. He took electronic music classes and became involved with sound design for theater. “It’s a really interesting challenge and it’s not something that I thought I would encounter,” he said. “You can’t pick where you’re going to go, and you just have to be ready to do what you find.”

Toffoletto has been working on a final project that involves chronicling the soundscape of Houston. “One of the things that’s both exciting and scary about being a composer is that it’s really hard to plan what you’re going to do in the future,” he said. “You can have an ideal about what you want your path to be, but if you really want to be committed to your art, you can’t really know and you just have to take the opportunities that come to you.”

About Brandon Martin

Greetings, I am a video producer at Rice University in the Office of Public Affairs. I became a Rice Owl in June 2011. Before that, I was at KPRC-TV in Houston as a special projects photojournalist for seven years, where I covered everything from hurricanes to sports. Southeast Texas has been my home my entire life. I am lucky to have a wonderful wife and two of the cutest girls I have ever seen. Go Owls!