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Matthew Steckler was born and raised in Schenectady, NY, the product of artistic, post-1960s child-rearing. His parents, both at one time art teachers, encouraged Matthew to appreciate all things beautiful and, at the same time, pursue his muse, particularly with lessons on piano and saxophone. In high school, theater, music, discussion, literature and travel led to the formation of his worldly views. Matthew then enrolled at Wesleyan University where he studied music, as well as Russian, literature and history. It was here that the idea of individuality in his music took on importance.

In the years ahead, Matthew would hone skills that support his creative endeavors with studies at New England Conservatory. He wrote prolifically at this time for the group Dead Cat Bounce, an ensemble that has since gained a national reputation and high critical standing. Since graduating, Matthew has continued the efforts of DCB, and has been the leader of additional projects including Persiflage, Cello Pudding Pops, Lavender Jones & The Dead Giveaways, The Famous, The South End Ramblers, and has produced numerous works for orchestra, chamber groups, film & theatre.

His work as a freelance performer includes appearances with Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Joe Lovano, Jim McNeely, Pheeroan Aklaff, Warren Smith, Neely Bruce, Tyshawn Sorey, Randy Brecker, Lee Konitz, Bobby Sanabria, George Russell, Lenny Pickett, Bob Moses, Jay Hoggard, Gunther Schuller, Inter-Art Ensemble, George Lewis, Gamelan Song of Lion, Wesleyan Steel Pans, Dinu Ghezzo, Roswell Rudd, MC Frontalot, Jon Hendricks, Grace Baptist Church, Jazz Composers Alliance, Steve Songs, Made in the Shade, Head of State, Corina Bartra, Smokehouse Prophets, Sam Bigelow, Doran Danoff, Brandon Patton, Dave Cope and others.

Among Matthew's achievements are commissions from Meet the Composer, American Composers Forum, American Music Center and Chamber Music America, a 3-time poll winner in the Boston Phoenix, and a Boston Music Award. Reviews are available in Downbeat (4 stars; Top CDs 2012), Jazz Times (Top 50 CDs 2011), Cadence, Signal to Noise, NYC Jazz Record, Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, and other publications. Matthew has performed internationally in China, Romania, Russia, Cuba and North America.

His teaching experience of over a dozen years includes faculty positions at RPI, NYU and Bergen Community College, metro NYC and Boston Public and Parochial Schools, collegiate visiting artist and musical director posts, and private lessons. Matthew holds a Ph.D. in Composition from NYU, and now resides in Vermont with his wife and son, teaching at the Dorset School and playing with Alex Torres, Darryl Kniffen and others.

The Washington Post has described Matthew’s writing as "sharply contrasting forms, textures and tones... strident, joyful, lush and strutting".

Seminal saxophonist Dave Liebman writes, "great writing originality of style, and a wide variety of moods".

 


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Photos & Art by
Charles Steckler