Born: December 5, 1986 Primary Instrument: Piano
Born in Bowral, Australia, and raised in Sydney, Melbourne, Woolongong and Adelaide, Matthew became interested in jazz performance and composition towards the end of high school and in 2003 (11th grade) received the Jack De Vos Scholarship for single studies at the Elder Conservatorium. In 2004 Matthew toured with his quartet across the USA performing his original music.
Upon Graduating at the University of Adelaide in 2008 with first class honors, he had received the Most Outstanding Pianist award in his 2nd year, Most Outstanding Undergraduate in 3rd year, Most Outstanding Honors Graduate in final year and was the only music student (from all disciplines in the Elder Conservatorium) to be awarded the Adelaide University Medal for Academic Excellence (humanities category).
In 2009 Matthew became the first Australian to win a Downbeat Magazine Student Award (best soloist category), and received two grants (Helpmann Academy and Arts SA) to study in New York City with 5 renowned Jazz pianists. Matthew received a scholarship to pursue his Masters in Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, studying with Fred Hersch and Jason Moran. In the same year Matthew received prestigious scholarships, including the Dame Ruby Litchfield Scholarship (South Australian Youth Arts Board) and the Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant (Victoria) to assist his pursuit of music in the USA.
Matthew has also been awarded grants from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Southern Jazz Club (SA), and the Carpe Diem Trust (SA). Matthew has performed with many musical luminaries including Bob Mintzer, Paul Bollenback, Bob Moses, Cecil McBee, Jim Pugh, John Hoffman, Tom Patitucci and recorded with Grammy award-winner Jerry Bergonzi in March 2011, and alto saxophonist Jon Gordon in June 2011. Matthew won a second Downbeat Award for Best Soloist in 2011. He has performed across Australia, USA, New Zealand, Japan, The Netherlands, at the Jazz Hoeilaart International Jazz Festival in Belgium, Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Europafest in Romania, and at the International Panama Jazz festival in Panama City. In 2011 Matthew moved to New York City where he is currently engaged in a number of projects as a pianist and composer.
Awards:Pi Kappa Lambda induction (Academic Music Society) 2011 Outstanding Graduate Soloist (2011), Best Undergraduate Soloist (2009). International Downbeat Magazine Student Awards Arts Practice Establishment grant from the Australia Council for the Arts, 2011 Professional Development Grant from Arts SA, 2011 Professional Development Grant from the ‘Australia Council for the Arts’, 2011 Nomination for South Australian Young Achiever of the Year, 2010, New England Conservatory Beneficiary Scholarship and Deans List, 2009, 2010, 2011 The Adelaide University Medal for Academic Excellence, Adelaide University, 2009 The Dame Ruby Litchfield Scholarship for South Australian Performing Artist, South Australian Youth Arts Board, 2009 The Carpe Diem Trust, South Australia, 2009 The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Victoria, Australia, 2009 2-year Merit Scholarship for Graduate Studies, New England Conservatory, MA 2009 Adelaide Hilton Award for Most Outstanding Honors Graduate, University of Adelaide, 2008 Adelaide City Council Award for Most Outstanding Undergraduate, University of Adelaide, 2007
- Jerry Bergonzi
Sheens is an outstanding pianist, stoked full of creative ideas and limitless technique....his innovative and luminous performance was totally captivating.
- John McBeath, Performance review, Adelaide Advertiser
Beauty, majesty, grace, vision, humor and fresh grooves abound on this new CD by young pianist/composer Matthew Sheens. All the players play with great sensitivity, beautiful tones, big spirit and muinto alegria!
-Ra-Kalam Bob Moses
Articulate, highly original and angleic - an unbeatable combination.....pure inspiration has been channelled here
- Jerry Bergonzi
A very strong project, well-written and beautifully played. A very distinctive thing going on, rare these days of so many clones. A wonderful touch and the execution is really strong! Great band!
- Fred Hersch
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NEW YORK, NY
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Matthew teaches students from beginner to advanced and is avaliable for lessons in Manhattan, NYC. He is on the piano faculty at the 'Piano School of New York City', and'PlayOn! Studios', both located in Manhattan, and also teaches privately in his studio. Matthew has taught at the South Australian Yamaha School of Music, Pembroke College (Adelaide, SA), St Mary's College (Adelaide, SA), students at the Univerisity of Adelaide and has been teaching privately for 7 years. Matthew teaches Jazz theory, improvisation and composition, technique (drawing from French, Abby Whiteside and Alexander techniques) and has taught Classical, Pop and world music styles.