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Dmitri Matheny

Celebrated for his warm tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, American musician Dmitri Matheny has been lauded as “one of the most emotionally expressive improvisers of his generation” (International Review of Music). 

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).

Born on Christmas Day, 1965 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, switched to the trumpet at age 9, and took up the flugelhorn at 18.

Matheny attended the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, then the Berklee College of Music, Boston, graduating magna 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 devote himself exclusively to the “Big Horn.” 

Under Farmer’s tutelage 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 leads the Dmitri Matheny Group, “an all-star jazz band featuring some of the most accomplished musicians in the western United States” (All About Jazz).

Matheny has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He has traveled to 21 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 as Larry Coryell, Nathan Davis, Amina Figarova, Tommy Flanagan, Wycliffe Gordon, Darrell Grant, Larry Grenadier, John Handy, Tom Harrell, Billy Higgins, Red Holloway, Denise Jannah, Joe Lovano, James Moody, Jean Louis Rassinfosse, Tony Reedus, Sam Rivers, Max Roach, the Rosenberg Trio, Bud Shank, Sonny Simmons, Mary Stallings, Akira Tana, Billy Taylor, Bobby Watson and Paula West. 

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"Radiant" —DownBeat

"Glowing" —JazzTimes

"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

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


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.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Chet Baker
trumpet and vocals
Miles Davis
Art Farmer



Dec 8 Fri


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Origin Records


Jazz Noir

Papillon/Blueport Jazz


Sagebrush Rebellion



Grant & Matheny

Papillon Recordings


Best of Dmitri Matheny

Papillon Recordings


Spiritu Sancto

Papillon Recordings



From: Cascadia
By Dmitri Matheny

Petite Belle

From: Sagebrush Rebellion
By Dmitri Matheny

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

From: Spiritu Sancto
By Dmitri Matheny



Chet Baker
trumpet and vocals
Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto
Art Farmer
Ray Brown
bass, acoustic
Brent Jensen
saxophone, alto
Terry Gibbs
Curtis Counce
bass, acoustic
Teddy Edwards
saxophone, tenor

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