Equally at home as a jazz and classical saxophonist, Conn-Selmer and D’Addario Endorsing Artist Matt Olson is Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He hails from Racine, Wisconsin, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Pedagogy and Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance from Northwestern University. Matt’s teachers have included Frederick Hemke, Debra Richtmeyer, Mike Kocour, Don Owens, Paul Bro, Ron Bridgewater, Tom Wirtel, Thomas Matta, and Jonathan Helton.
Matt’s professional work includes performances with Randy Brecker, Chris Potter, Kenny Barron, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling, Benny Carter, Wayne Bergeron, Jeff Coffin, John Fedchock, Jason Marsalis, Byron Stripling, Ken Peplowski, Veronica Swift, Kevin Mahogany, Doc Severinsen, Ryan Keberle, Andy Martin, Wycliffe Gordon, Chris Vadala, Manhattan Transfer, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Bernadette Peters, Lou Rawls, Michael Feinstein, Johnny Mathis, Ben Folds, Bob Newhart, Wayne Newton, the Temptations, the Four Tops, children’s entertainer Shari Lewis, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the South Carolina Jazz Masterworks Ensemble, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. His performances have taken him to the Montreal Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, and Chicago’s Jazz Showcase and Orchestra Hall.
As a recording artist, Matt will release his third solo recording, Open Spaces, featuring his undergraduate student Adib Young, on OA2 Records, in January 2022. His previous solo recordings, 789 Miles (OA2 Records) and Vortex (self- released), along with his two recordings with the collaborative jazz sextet Unhinged Sextet, Clarity and Don’t Blink (both on OA2 Records), have received worldwide radio airplay and numerous positive reviews, including being featured on Joey Defrancesco’s Sirius/XM radio program “Organized.”
Matt has been part of commissions that resulted in new works for the saxophone by composers Frank Ticheli, John FitzRogers, Christopher Dobrian, Don Owens, and Roscoe Mitchell. He has performed and presented master classes at numerous national and regional conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance, World Saxophone Congress, and the United States Navy International Saxophone Symposium. He has also been a featured guest artist at Northwestern University, Arizona State University, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina- Charlotte, the University of Idaho, and high schools throughout the United States. He has published articles in both Downbeat magazine and The Saxophone Symposium, and eJazzlines publishes Matt's original compositions for large jazz ensemble.
Matt is active nationally as a clinician and adjudicator.