Unquestionably a master.
A loving concern for fine detail.
—Los Angeles Times
Understated, masterful technique and evident joy.
A flugelhorn so cool it'll run a shiver through your martini.
The first breakthrough flugelhornist since Chuck Mangione.
—San Jose Mercury News
A brass player who can limn slow-motion ballads without referencing Miles.
—Gary Giddins, Village Voice
Extravagantly, unashamedly, irresistibly pretty. A spirit voice that compels
attention even when it whispers.
—Thomas Conrad, Stereophile
A visionary. Matheny's flugelhorn is both hot and cool, wide of range and
—Phil Elwood, San Francisco Examiner
With his gift for soaring lyricism, Matheny plays jazz that's emotionally open
but full of mystery.
—Andy Gilbert, SF Metropolitan
This is music to touch your heart. A warm pellucid sound that truly
encapsulates the essence of jazz.
—Marian McPartland, Piano Jazz, National Public Radio
Matheny is among the vanguard of today's musicians who have helped propel
the Bay Area jazz community onto the international scene.
Primary Instrument: Flugelhorn
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Dmitri Matheny is a devoted advocate for the arts and a tireless, inspiring
educator. Teaching the joys of jazz—whether to aspiring artists, audiences,
adults or children—is a major focus for Dmitri both at home and on the road.
RESIDENCIES — Dmitri is known for having a unique ability to bring out the
very best in aspiring young musicians. He accepts extended residencies and
teaching positions on an availability basis.
CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT — Dmitri is the creator of Discover Jazz, an
innovative jazz appreciation course for adults in association with the San
Francisco Jazz Festival. Presented at San Francisco's Jewish Community
Center, Discover Jazz explores the music's colorful mythology, key figures,
recordings, forms, and ideas.
CLASSROOM TEACHING — Dmitri has taught youth and adult classes in jazz
history and appreciation, music theory, jazz harmony, film scoring,
composition, arranging, orchestration, the music business, contract
negotiation, recording, publicity, marketing, e-commerce and fundraising.
FACULTY POSITIONS — Matheny's past appointments include Director of
Education and Director of Development for SFJAZZ (the largest nonprofit jazz
presenter on the West Coast), Assistant Education Director for the Thelonious
Monk Institute Jazz Colony, Artist-In-Residence for the Siskiyou Institute of
Ashland, Oregon and the Young Musicians Program of UC Berkeley, and
faculty of the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the Jazzschool of Berkeley,
PRIVATE LESSONS — Dmitri offers private lessons via Skype to professional
musicians and serious students worldwide. Lessons focus on the
fundamentals of brass technique, melodic interpretation and jazz
YOUTH CONCERTS — The Dmitri Matheny Group and Grant & Matheny duo
work with arts organizations and concert presenters to provide children in
underserved communities with the experience of hearing jazz live-in-concert.
Each program is tailored to the unique needs and experience level of the
children, with the goal of informing, enlightening and inspiring all involved.
SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES — As teaching artists of the San Francisco Symphony
Adventures in Music program, the Dmitri Matheny Group has provided over
500 free, curriculum-based concerts in schools, serving more than 50,000
JAZZ SCHOLARSHIPS — Since 1999, the Art Farmer Jazz Scholarship Fund
(created by Dmitri Matheny in honor of his mentor) has provided merit-based
financial assistance awards to promising young students of jazz.
FAMILY CONCERTS — Dmitri's original family show The SnowCat teaches
literacy and a love of the arts with an entertaining theatrical production that
combines storytelling, singing, visual art and live music.
SALON CONCERTS — In-home performances, a trademark of the Grant &
Matheny duo, offer an intimate look at the artists' creative process.
SYMPOSIA — Dmitri is frequently invited to participate in panel discussions
and symposia held at music festivals and industry conferences.
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS — Matheny has served as a moderator, speaker,
presenter, site visitor and peer review panelist for the California Arts Council,
Chamber Music America, National Endowment for the Arts and International
Association of Jazz Educators.
INFORMANCES — Throughout the year, Dmitri offers clinics,
lecture/demonstrations and "informances" for professional musicians and
serious students of jazz. These are customized educational performances
with commentary, in which Dmitri and his fellow musicians share their ideas
and personal insights into the nuances of jazz performance.
MASTERCLASSES — Masterclasses provide an opportunity for student
ensembles to perform excerpts from their repertoire, then receive
constructive critique and evaluation. Prior to each Master Class, Dmitri meets
with the ensemble director or teacher to discuss particular concepts to be
discussed and reinforced. Upon the student group's completion of each
performed selection, Dmitri and his musicians offer thoughtful commentary,
encouraging praise and suggestions for how to strengthen the next
CLINICS — As a clinician, Dmitri works with student musicians to convey key
musical concepts and techniques, such as dynamics, articulation, melodic
interpretation, phrasing, time-keeping, chord voicing and improvisation.
Intensive clinics provide students with specialized training in a particular style
or technique of performance, and may take the form of guided sectional
rehearsals (for the rhythm section, brass, and/or woodwinds), or an individual
coaching session focused on soloists and other key personnel.
WORKSHOPS — In association with his seasonal tours, Dmitri offers three
workshops for special audiences: Melodic Mastery, a jazz improvisation
workshop for aspiring musicians based on the teachings of Art Farmer;
Bandleader Bootcamp, advanced training in the skills and techniques required
to direct a world class jazz ensemble; and Music in the Digital Age, a business
tool kit for professional musicians.
CONSULTING — Matheny provides confidential career assessment and
guidance to fellow musicians and independent consulting services to leading
arts organizations. As a consultant with the National Jazz Service Organization
(NJSO), Matheny has advised dozens of professional musicians and has
counseled a diverse roster of corporate, nonprofit and government clients on
strategic planning, curriculum development and fundraising. Past and current
clients include American Airlines, Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, The Kennedy
Center, Hawaii International Jazz Festival, Healdsburg Jazz Festival, the
Jazzschool, Oakland Jazz Choir, Rhythmic Concepts, San Francisco Jazz
Festival, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Telegraph Avenue Neighborhood
Association of Berkeley, University of California Jazz Ensembles and the Young
Musicians Program of UC Berkeley.
LEADERSHIP — Matheny's contributions to the field include volunteer service
on various governing boards. A past president of the Berklee College of Music
California Alumni Association, Dmitri has served on the San Francisco Board
of Governors of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
(NARAS), the Board of Trustees of SFJAZZ, the San Francisco Jazz
Organization, and the Board of Directors of Jazz in Arizona.
Dmitri Matheny partners with community organizations to present MELODIC
MASTERY, a series of jazz improvisation workshops for aspiring musicians of
Based on the teachings of his mentor, jazz legend Art Farmer, Matheny
advocates a lyrical, melodic approach to jazz which stands in stark contrast to
the chord scale and pattern-based methods currently in vogue.
"Your solo is an opportunity to express something entirely new and
profoundly personal," Matheny says. "Create your own melody. Tell your own
story. Sing your own song! This is no time for plugging in recycled,
In this one-hour workshop, presented in three parts, Matheny explores the
mental processes that take place while playing a jazz solo and the skills
required for true improvisation.
With an emphasis on deep listening and jazz-as-conversation, part one of the
workshop outlines the elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm and
form) from the soloist's perspective, and why the melody should be your
guide when improvising.
In part two, Matheny explains how to spontaneously create your own melodies
and develop them in real time through a series of simple or complex
harmonic changes. He provides recorded examples, demonstrates specific
techniques on his horn, and shares relevant anecdotes from his professional
career and years of tutelage under jazz legend Art Farmer.
In part three, Matheny discusses the importance of developing your own
personal sound and style of playing, and offers some practical advice to keep
in mind on your journey.
Celebrated for his warm tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique,
American musician Dmitri Matheny has been lauded as "the first breakthrough
flugelhornist since Chuck Mangione" (San Jose Mercury News). Matheny is an
honors graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and the Berklee
College of Music, Boston. First introduced to jazz audiences in the 1990s as
the protégé of Art Farmer, Matheny has matured into "one of the jazz world's
most talented horn players" (SF Chronicle), touring internationally, performing
with many of the leading names in jazz, and releasing nine critically acclaimed
Dmitri plays a very special flugelhorn that originally belonged to his mentor,
the late jazz master Art Farmer.
"Trumpet players sometimes double on flugelhorn, the way saxophone
players double on flute or clarinet," Dmitri explains. "But I was inspired by Art
Farmer to dedicate myself entirely to the flugelhorn. Art proved that focused
attention can yield extraordinary fluency."
Designed by Zigmant Kanstul, the flugelhorn is one of three horns favored by
Farmer in his performances and recordings of the 1970s and '80s. Matheny
acquired the instrument after a duet performance of "Warm Valley" with Dr.
Billy Taylor at Farmer's memorial service, November 7, 1999 at St. Peter's
Church in New York City.
The horn weighs 2.5 lbs. Its bell, crafted in heavy wall copper-plated brass, is
6.5 inches in diameter. The leadpipe is 0.421 "large bore" as manufactured by
French Besson for Boosey & Hawkes, based on a classic 1890 Paris Exposition
design. Its valves are top sprung monel pistons with metal interior casings
and a lacquered brass exterior, as manufactured by English Besson based on a
design by Couesnon & Company.
Farmer made a number of modifications to his Kanstul flugelhorn such as
adding tuning triggers to the first and third valve slides and making custom
valve caps inlaid with 1916-D Mercury dimes, an idea borrowed from
symphonic French horn players of the era. Although weathered with age and
oxidation, the name of the instrument's original owner is still visible,
engraved on the flugelhorn's copper bell.
To expand the flugelhorn's timbral palette with additional tones and colors,
Matheny uses a Jo-Ral tenor trombone bubble mute designed by Joe Alessi
and an assortment of hats, bottles, mutes and plungers.