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.
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Mattthew is an extremely talented musician with a great future in front of him. He has the sensitivity and confidence of expression to make a mark in the music world
- 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
Willing to teach
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.