They say music is the universal language. From Oswego venues like
the DK house or The Patch to a ’70s revue tour of Germany to special events on the U.S. East Coast, Matthew Cutillo ’95 has been making beautiful music in more than one language.
The lead guitarist for the band Morning Wood and a German major at Oswego, Matthew followed his love of the language to a semester abroad in Goetingen, inspired by German Professors Emeriti George Koenig and Peter Hertz-Ohmes. It became a decade-long adventure.
While he went abroad to hone his language skills, Matthew ended up developing his musical talent as well. “I had been in bands all my youth,” says Matthew, who picked up a guitar at age 2 to imitate his brother and has kept playing ever since. He brought his guitar to Germany and played at local venues. “It was great,” he says. “I could go out, drink and eat all I wanted and come home with a pocket full of cash.”
Singing for his supper got Matthew picked up by the Rex Richter Quintet. He would spend the next four years touring Germany, playing schlage — hit parade songs — and German versions of American and British pop hits of the ’60s and ’70s. He was on the road most days, playing at least 200 shows a year with the band and eventually became the lead singer, before the group broke up in the post-9/11 world economic downturn.
He taught business executives English in Hamburg before returning home in 2004, to build houses with his father’s business before once again earning his income with his guitar and voice.
He is now one of the most popular events entertainers on the East Coast, playing “hits from the 1500s to the present.” He is currently ranked No. 1 among the 7,000 acts represented by the booking company Gigmasters.
Now Matthew plays three or four evenings a week, performing at weddings, parties and birthdays as a solo acoustic guitarist and vocalist. He is up at 3 a.m. practicing his classical guitar finger work before spending time with his wife and their 3-year-old daughter.
What’s in the future for Matthew? More music, and this time, more original work. “I am thinking of bigger, better things,” he says.
— Michele Reed
Listen to Matt: