Born: December 25, 1965 Primary Instrument: Flugelhorn
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). 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 (San Francisco Chronicle), a leading figure on the international jazz scene and one of the most prolific musicians of his generation. Born on Christmas Day, 1965 in in Nashville, Tennessee, Dmitri was raised in Georgia and Arizona. Attracted to his father’s collection of jazz and classical LP records, Dmitri began piano lessons at age 5 and switched to the trumpet at age 9. Young Dmitri loved to perform and spent much of his childhood on stage, but he did not become serious about music until his teens, when he fell in love with the flugelhorn and left home in search of formal musical training. Matheny attended the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, then the Berklee College of Music, Boston, graduating cum laude in 1989. After private studies with Carmine Caruso in New York City, Matheny became the protégé of the legendary Art Farmer, a formative relationship that lasted over a decade. Farmer, “the bebop master who defined the sound of the flugelhorn in modern jazz” (All Music Guide), was Matheny’s public champion and private mentor. Generously sharing his wisdom, experience and influence, it was Farmer who encouraged Dmitri to put away the trumpet and devote himself exclusively to the Big Horn. Under Farmer’s tutelage on flugelhorn Matheny emerged as a promising new voice in jazz. “Art Farmer’s role in the early success of Dmitri Matheny cannot be overstated,” observed writer and historian Phil Elwood. “Without Art, there could be no Dmitri.” At 29, after launching a busy recording career on the West Coast, Matheny made his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, then began touring internationally. The soulful sound of Dmitri's horn garnered praise from critics and audiences alike, drawing frequent comparisons to Miles Davis, Chet Baker and—not surprisingly—to Art Farmer. Upon Farmer’s passing in 1999, Matheny acquired his mentor’s copper-bell flugelhorn. Today, Dmitri Matheny performs most frequently with Grant & Matheny, the chamber jazz duo directed by Oregon-based pianist Darrell Grant, and leads the Dmitri Matheny Group, an all-star ensemble featuring some of the most accomplished jazz artists in the western states. Matheny has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He has traveled to 19 countries and has performed with many motown and popular music acts including the Temptations, Martha Reeves, Fabian, the Four Tops, Bobby Vinton, Sandy Patty, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and the O'Jays. Matheny has had the privilege of appearing in concert with such jazz luminaries Larry Coryell, Nathan Davis, Amina Figarova, Tommy Flanagan, Wycliffe Gordon, Darrell Grant, Larry Grenadier, John Handy, Billy Higgins, Red Holloway, Denise Jannah, James Moody, Jean Louis Rassinfosse, Margo Reed, Tony Reedus, Sam Rivers, Max Roach, Dennis Rowland, the Rosenberg Trio, Bud Shank, Sonny Simmons, Mary Stallings, Akira Tana, Billy Taylor, Bobby Watson and Paula West. Matheny's discography lists over 60 compact discs on which he appears as a composer, arranger, producer, annotator or flugelhorn soloist. He has released nine critically-acclaimed albums as a leader: Red Reflections (1995), Penumbra (1996), Starlight Cafe (1998), Santa's Got a Brand New Bag (2000), Nocturne (2005), The SnowCat (2006), Spiritu Sancto (2007), Best of Dmitri Matheny (2008) and Grant & Matheny (2010). Dmitri Matheny has received several prestigious music awards, including Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in the 46th Annual Down Beat International Critics Poll and Best New Artists honors in the 1999 JazzTimes Readers Poll. Dmitri Matheny is also a prolific composer and lyricist whose published compositions span the jazz, pop, symphonic, choral, chamber and world music genres. He has received premieres and commissions from Meet the Composer, St. Domenic's Church, the Manhattan New Music Project, the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Jazz Composers Orchestra and 20th Century Forum. Matheny’s film scoring and soundtrack credits include the PBS documentary Mary, Paradox & Grace (1996), the short film Greenhorn Creek (1997), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art production Voices & Images of California Art (1997), and the RKO Pictures feature film Shade (2003), Damian Nieman’s modern noir starring Gabriel Byrne, Jamie Foxx, Melanie Griffith, Thandie Newton, Sylvester Stallone and Stewart Townsend. In 2006 Matheny contributed music for the Cannes Film Festival premiere of a short film from the horror anthology Trapped Ashes. Matheny's most ambitious creation to date is Spiritu Sancto, the New Millennium Mass, a monumental sacred work scored for chorus, organ, percussion, brass quintet, jazz ensemble and gospel soloist, Spiritu Sancto received its world premiere on the dawn of the new millennium at St. Domenic's Cathedral in San Francisco. Throughout his professional career as a concert and recording artist, Dmitri Matheny has distinguished himself as a dedicated educator, community leader and advocate for jazz and the arts. He presents clinics, lectures, master classes and workshops at leading universities and conservatories, and is gratified to have staged more than 500 free, curriculum-based concerts for kids, introducing over 50,000 school children to jazz. Matheny has held teaching faculty and management positions with the Jazzschool, Boston Center for the Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chabot Space and Science Center, Monarch Records and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. He has served as Director of Education, Director of Development and Director of Corporate Sponsorships for SFJAZZ, the largest nonprofit jazz presenter on the west coast, as Assistant Education Director for the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Colony at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and as Artist-In-Residence for the Siskiyou Institute of Ashland and the Young Musicians Program of the University of California, Berkeley. Matheny is past president of the Berklee College of Music Alumni Association, a former governor of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and a former trustee of the San Francisco Jazz Organization. His volunteer service to the field includes frequent participation in music industry conferences, symposia and grant-making initiatives. Past and current affiliations include the International Association for Jazz Education, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Western Arts Alliance, California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America and the National Jazz Service Organization.
Awards:OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO JAZZ EDUCATION International Association for Jazz Education 2000 MODEL TOURING ARTIST California Arts Council 2000 BAY AREA BEST San Francisco Examiner Magazine 1995-2000 BEST NEW ARTISTS Brad Mehldau, Dmitri Matheny, Stefon Harris, Ravi Coltrane JazzTimes International Readers Poll 1999 TALENT DESERVING WIDER RECOGNITION 46th Annual DownBeat International Critics Poll 1998 TOP 10 JAZZ RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR Oakland Tribune 1998 BLUE CHIP JAZZ CD AWARDS Jazz Educators Journal 1998 BEST JAZZ RECORDING OF THE YEAR San Francisco Bay Guardian 1996 THE YEAR'S BEST RECORDINGS Jazz Educators Journal 1996 10 BEST JAZZ RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR JazzIz Magazine Critics Picks 1995
Unquestionably a master. —JazzIz
A loving concern for fine detail. —Los Angeles Times
Understated, masterful technique and evident joy. —JazzNews
A flugelhorn so cool it'll run a shiver through your martini. —MetroActive
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 brilliantly imaginative. —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. —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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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, California. 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 improvisation. 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 children. 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 performance. 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 all ages. 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, memorized material." 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 CDs.