Matt Belzer, born in Camden, NJ is the younger of two sons; raised in Runnemede, NJ--exit three on the Turnpike. The combination of good public and private teachers, a musical brother and proximity to Philadelphia, fostered in Belzer a passion for art and music. Belzer began playing saxophone at the age of nine and added clarinet two years later. During this time, he developed a wide-ranging interest in various musical styles, which has helped to define his creative activities to the present day.
Thanks to Belzer’s teachers and a supportive family, Belzer was accepted to the prestigious Eastman School of Music where he studied saxophone, clarinet, flute and composition. Belzer’s skills were refined while studying with Ramon Ricker, Richard Sherman, Bill Dobbins, Fred Sturm, Michael Caine, and Ralph Alessi. While receiving his master’s degree Belzer toured Germany and Japan as a member of the school ensembles. Belzer’s summers were spent in South Jersey where he would venture weekly into Philadelphia to attend jam sessions. During this time, Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Composers Alliance honored Belzer’s performances and compositions. Upon graduation, Belzer moved to Cincinnati to be with flutist and future wife Mariko. During this time, Belezer recorded and performed with bassist and former Eastman classmate Drew Waters cementing a long musical partnership. Belzer also joined the critically acclaimed rock group Big Soap where he added Theremin (An electronic instrument played by moving the hands near its two antennas) to his list of instruments. As a member of Big Soap, Belzer toured the US and gained valuable musical experience from the “do-it-yourself” world of indie rock. In addition, while in Cincinnati, he struck up a friendship with flutist Dr. Bradley Garner who commissioned Belzer to compose a work for flute and piano, which Dr. Garner premiered at the National Flute Association convention in Phoenix, AZ. The work, B4B, was eventually published on Advance Music.