Former CSUN Director of Jazz Studies Matt Harris graduated with a BM from the University of Miami and a MM from the Eastman School of Music. He moved to Los Angeles after touring, writing, and recording with jazz legends, Maynard Ferguson and Buddy Rich. Matt is co-director of Jazz Studies at California State University Northridge, and is a current faculty member at Yellowstone and Idyllwild Arts summer jazz camps. He is currently the VP for California Alliance for Jazz (CAJ) and is a National Panelist for Young Arts based in Miami.
Matt is an active clinician, conductor and composer for high schools, colleges, and professional bands around the world. He has conducted the Nevada, Oklahoma, Arizona, South Dakota, and Texas all state bands. He has been commissioned to write music from bands spanning the globe, including; Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, China, Turkey, as well as numerous high schools and Universities in the United States.
Matt has been a guest clinician for over 20 years with topics ranging from improvisation, rhythm section, piano, arranging, composition, business of music, and creative aspects of playing jazz. He completed a week residency at the Amsterdam Conservatory in the Spring of 2012. Matt has 6 CD’s of original music including two trio CD’s, Snap Crackle, and Bellavino Blues. Matt’s second big band CD, recorded by the HR German radio band in 2008, is available exclusively on this web site (digital download only). Matt has also written for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Metrapole Orchestra (Netherlands), Airmen of Note, Air Force Falcolnaires, Kluvers Big Band (Denmark), as well as high school and college bands throughout the country. He has arranged, orchestrated, and/or performed on numerous jingles, recordings, and live performances including Taco Bell, Home Depot, Jack in the Box, Ford, Schwab, Mariott, and many more.
Matt has played with jazz legends including Bobby Shew, Lanny Morgan, Bob Sheppard, Bob McChesney, Howie Shear, Matt Finders, Rob Lockart, Carl Saunders, Chuck Findley, Tim Ries, Bob Summers, John Pisano, Gregg Bissonette, Dan Higgins to name a few. Matt played with drum legends Neal Peart, Chad Smith, Terry Bozzio, and Peter Erskine for the eleventh Buddy Rich tribute concert in New York sponsored by DW drum channel (2009). He also played with Jimmy Cobb and Joe Morello for DW’s “drum channel” (2009). Matt teamed up with Neal Peart of Rush in 2010 to redo Canada’s “Second National Anthem” … the Hockey Night in Canada theme song! The recording session included the actual Stanley Cup delivered directly to the studio!!
Matt has played piano and/or written music for some of today’s top jazz vocalists including Karyn Allison, Jackie Allen, Diane Shure, Dena Derose, Rosana Eckert, Calbria Foti, Kevin Mahogany, Kurt Elling, Marie Carmen Koppel, and many others. Matt recently teamed up with long-time friend and Maynard Ferguson alumnus, Tim Ries, (current saxophone for the Rolling Stones) arranging 12 “Stones” tunes for big band. The music was premiered in Denmark by the Kluvers big band, October, 2008, and the Metropole big band from the Netherlands, July, 2009.
Matt is the father to Emily and Madelyn and husband to Kim. He enjoys rollerblading with his dog Curly and loves to watch ice hockey …. go KINGS! (Stanley Cup Champions)