Downtime with Matt Stringer

Downtime with Matt Stringer Jason E. Kaplan

The executive director of Ontario’s Four Rivers Cultural Center talks about what he does when he’s not working at the multidimensional nonprofit.


What I am reading

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Best of Me by David Sedaris, I Am Charlie Wilson by Charlie Wilson (the Gap Band lead singer).

What I am watching

Hollywood on Netflix, Love, Victor on Hulu, Only Murders in the Building on Hulu, Golden Girls reruns (I miss my mom), Caleb Dressel crying at the Olympics, and Homeroom, a brilliant documentary about the power of youth to change the world.

What I am listening to

New Edition, Guy, Exposé, TLC, Usher, Bell Biv DeVoe, Whitney Houston, Buffy Sainte-Marie, U2, Coldplay, Keith Sweat, NSYNC, Johnnie Ray, The Andrews Sisters, Deniece Williams, Phyllis Hyman, Kelly Clarkson, Will Bradley Orchestra, Billie Eilish, Amy Winehouse.

Must-have gadgets

Apple Air Pods, Ring, Tiles, Roku and Nest.

My hobbies and interests

Hiking, swimming, reading, nature, botany, bird-watching, pets (I am a bleeding heart for animals) — but most of all, music.



Earliest ambition

From age 5, I wanted to work in the music business. I was able to do that for 29 years in New York as the senior VP of marketing for various music labels — Island, Arista, Sony Music. I am pretty structured, so I like the discipline of business, but it has to be creative business, and to me the most creative expression is music, and music is my life.

Favorite places to vacation

I love Cambodia and Thailand, but I think the most special place I have ever been is Seville, Spain. Flamenco, tapas, blood-orange blossoms, warm weather, ancient streets — it is beautiful. Prague is very special, Vienna is beautiful, and Budapest is quite elaborate and foreign. I love Charleston, South Carolina, and West Jefferson, North Carolina.  I would like to live in James Madison’s house, Montpelier, in beautiful Orange County, Virginia.

Biggest extravagances

Flying only business/first class, very nice hotels on vacations, dentures, eye glasses and La-Z-Boy chairs for friends — and funding for an autistic 55-year-old to have a job.

What motivates me to come to work

At Four Rivers Cultural Center, we respond to every human being with a focus on culture and diversity. We work with: foster youth, juveniles involved in the justice system, youth of color, those from distressed homes, differently abled people, hyper-rural people (15 miles from a school or town), houseless/homeless youth, people who speak English as a second language, single parents, migrants, immigrants and refugee children. We are a community-based organization that can respond to any community need or crisis, seeing the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to assist and contribute in myriad ways.



Professional role models

Record-business impresario Clive Davis and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

Future ambitions

To write a bestseller, to have my songs recorded, to travel extensively, to continue to participate in community in capacities like school board member, to build a home and design the landscaping (5,000 square feet and you can call it a mansion), to retain health of mind and body, to relax, to meditate and go to the gym, do yoga regularly. To learn to cook and eat healthier foods.

More in this category: « Downtime with Colt Gill

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.