The nexus between classical and jazz saxophone with Matt Styles

28 Sep 2023

One of the truly versatile saxophonists in Australia, Matt can seamlessly traverse , jazz, classical, funk, avant-garde as a performer, educator, arranger, composer and musical director.

Describing himself as a performing educator, this artist has inspired audiences and students in the UK, Asia and Australia.  Matt has performed with such jazz and commercial artists as Ben Folds, Diana Ross, Dave Weckl, Paul Grabowsky, Tim Minchin, Olivia Newton-John and The Manhattan Transfer. Having performed at the Villa Cellimontana (Rome) and Ninegates (Beijing) International Jazz Festivals, Matt also appears on numerous jazz, classical and cross-genre recordings and released an album of Australian cross-genre works on Tall Poppies Recordsentitled Home by 11.

On the classical side, the Malaysian Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony Western Australian Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Perth Symphony and Orchestra’s have also utilised Matt as their principal saxophonist. Every year since 1997, Matt has given Australian or World premiere performances of classical and ‘cross-genre’ works specifically arranged or composed for him in his capacity as a unique soloist and improviser, including giving the Australian premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Hidden Love Song as soloist with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra. Season of Life is a four-movement cross-genre concerto for soprano saxophone and wind orchestra written for Matt by Glyn MacDonald which received its world premiere on August 31st, released in December 2019.  Recently he began composing works for the saxophone published by Astute Music UK.

Currently, he is Lecturer of Classical and Cross-Genre Saxophone Studies, Head of the Honours of Music program, Director of the ‘Phone Network’ and Honours, Masters and PhD supervisor at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University.   Following post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Music, London, he went on to receive a coveted Churchill Fellowship enabling him to study with Dr Otis Murphy, Dr Tom Walsh, Bob Berg and Dr Eugene Rousseau, he received his doctorate in the interpretation, pedagogy and performance of classical, jazz and multi-genre or ‘cross-over’ works.  He is passionate about Injury prevention and rehabilitation for the sax and continues to research this area, presenting his findings in the UK, Asia and Australia.

Finally, with over 25 years experience teaching at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, Matthew is establishing himself as a prominent figure in music education, being able to communicate musical meaning to musicians and music lovers of all ages and stages. Giving workshops, masterclasses and concerts at the school level is also a passion of Matthew, who is always keen to encourage music students to become the next creative artists.

You can read Matt’s Churchill Fellowship report here. 

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