Background, professional training and performance history
Matt has been playing and composing since he could reach the piano keys. At 6 he won his first talent show. In middle school he composed the score for a musical adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has composed music for video games, played with the Emerald City Jazz Kings, toured in a country band, co-founded Eugene cult rock band ToneDawg, and collaborated with Dove and Grammy award-winning producer Christopher Stevens. His performance credits include Don Latarski, Satin Love Orchestra, Paul Biondi, the Inspirational Sounds, and the University of Oregon jazz, vocal jazz and gospel ensembles. He can be heard playing locally with the Deb Cleveland Band (voted 2008’s best blues vocalist by Eugene Weekly readers) and The Essentials (2009 Register-Guard readers’ choice for Best Band). Most recently, with Eugene singer/songwriter Halie Loren, he played on and co-produced “They Oughta Write a Song,” winner of the 2009 JPF Award for Best Vocal Jazz Album, and “Stages,” a live jazz CD.
Artist statement and teaching philosophy
“The lessons I teach are not the kind I took growing up. These are more open-ended; there's no learning by rote. I teach chord theory, improvisation, reading lead sheets, and applied creativity such as composing and arranging. My goal is to enhance students' understanding of what makes different styles of music “tick,” while developing their own musical ear. I encourage everyone to find their own unique voice on the piano. Most of all I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for this magnificent instrument. I am currently taking students with some previous piano or musical training.”
Instruments & classes taught
Matt teaches jazz, blues, and gospel piano with a focus on approaching the instrument organically. Note-reading is not necessary, only an open and curious mind.