Matthew Walker was born and raised in the city of Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. He began playing trombone at 9 years of age, and moved to Sydney to finish school at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School at the age of 16. At age 21, while working towards his Bachelors Degree at the Conservatorium, he won the position of Principal Bass Trombone with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, resident orchestra of the Sydney Opera House, which he occupied for 16 years. His performance resume also includes many of Australia's professional orchestras and Jazz Big Bands, as well as the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
During his time with the Australian Opera, Matthew experienced frustrations with the instruments he was playing at the time, had ideas about how to correct those issues, and decided to test those concepts through his own work. Matthew's dad, Graham, a highly skilled watchmaker by trade, instilled an appreciation for fineness of detail, and taught him to solder and assemble parts with the precision of a jeweler. After working on the instruments and getting the results he desired, in 1998 Matthew attended the highly regarded Red Wing Technical College in Red Wing Minnesota, in order to learn more about the musical instrument repair trade. Upon returning to Australia, in addition to his playing job, Matthew started and maintained a very successful repair business working exclusively on brass, but with a special focus on trombone. Players from all around Australia and South-East Asia sought Matthew out to work on their horns.
In 2006, Matthew took a leave of absence from his job with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and moved from Australia to Wisconsin to work for Greenhoe Trombones. Matthew felt very honored to be a part of the manufacturing team of those fine trombones of that time. Matthew's skills were focused and honed to an exceptionally high level. After the Greenhoe shop closed in 2012, Matthew worked as a technician for the Getzen company for 12 months.
Exceptional attention to detail and appreciation for quality are the two main driving factors that dictate Matthew's work ethic and approach to building and designing horns. Matthew is happy to work with Michael McLemore again in forming M&W Custom Trombones, and bringing the utmost quality built horns to the marketplace.
Matthew lives in Jackson, Wisconsin, with his wife Sue (who is the M&W office manager and also a musician) and her two sons. He enjoys building Scale Model Aircraft in his spare time, and is an award winner in that field. He is also a regular contributor to Finescale Modeler Magazine, a publication he has read since it's first issue in 1982.
M&W Custom Trombones
Michael D. McLemore
Owners and craftsmen Michael McLemore and Matthew Walker bring a wealth of experience and expertise to M&W Custom Trombones. They met while building the original Greenhoe instruments, located in Jackson, Wisconsin prior to Greenhoe's closing in 2012. While at that company, they realized that they worked well together, respected each other's abilities, and had similar thoughts regarding instrument manufacturing. Not satisfied with simply re-creating a previously existing brand, they newly designed and developed M&W Custom Trombones incorporating their own ideas and concepts that had not been previously utilized. Designed to produce the characteristic sound of classic American orchestral trombones, M&W Custom Trombones are engineered and crafted with the finest tolerance specifications in the industry. Every part of an M&W is fit with extreme precision, allowing the player to easily project their ideas and energy as a musician. While initially offering large bore orchestral instruments and most recently alto trombones, in the future M&W will be bringing the same ideas and concepts to newer developments of medium and smaller bore trombones.
The M&W Team
Michael D. McLemore is a native of Grady, Arkansas. Growing up on his family’s farm, Michael was mechanically curious and loved taking things apart to see how they worked. Michael’s father was also a gifted mechanic and welder which influenced and helped foster Michael’s curiosity of “how to build and make things work”.
Michael earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in 1993 from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. In 1996, Michael completed a Master’s Degree in Trombone Performance from The University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with the legendary Donald Knaub. He has also earned hours towards the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree.
As an active musician, Michael has performed with the Dallas Wind Symphony, Dallas Opera Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as well as numerous other groups throughout Texas and the Midwest. In addition to performance, Michael has held teaching positions at The University of Texas-Austin, Southwestern University, L.V. Berkner High School and The Colony High School.
In October of 2002, Michael moved from Texas to Wisconsin to work for Greenhoe Trombones as a Technician/Designer/Artist. It was there that Michael cultivated exceptional skills and attention to detail in all areas of production in a setting where nothing was more important than the impeccable quality of the final product. During his tenure, Michael perfected his technique to achieve the finest tolerances for valve fitting within the industry. He was also instrumental in the development of the Greenhoe tuning-in-slide bass trombone with a detachable second valve. He worked in the Greenhoe shop until they closed their doors in December of 2012.
With the knowledge of both an active performer and skilled craftsman, Michael produces exceptional instruments that performers can trust. Michael is excited to have the opportunity to provide the highest quality instrument to trombonists worldwide, via M&W Custom Trombones.
Currently, Michael resides in West Bend, Wisconsin. In addition to his duties at M&W, he is an adjunct faculty member of Concordia University Wisconsin and enjoys freelancing throughout the Midwest. Michael’s wife, Elsa, works for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in the MRI Department and graciously supports Michael’s trombone habits.