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Matt Olson

Associate Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at Furman University

Equally home as a jazz and classical saxophonist, Matt Olson is Associate 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 at Urbana-Champaign, in addition to 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, and Jonathan Helton.

Matt’s professional work includes performances with Randy Brecker, Kurt Elling, Benny Carter, John Fedchock, Ken Peplowski, Kevin Mahogany, Doc Severinsen, Chris Vadala, Manhattan Transfer, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Bernadette Peters, Lou Rawls, Michael Feinstein, Johnny Mathis, Bob Newhart, Wayne Newton, the Temptations, the Four Tops, children’s entertainer Shari Lewis, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. His performances have taken him to the Montreal Jazz Festival as well as to Chicago's Jazz Showcase and Orchestra Hall.

Matt has been a part of commissions that have resulted in new works for the saxophone by composers Frank Ticheli, John FitzRogers, Christopher Dobrian, Don Owens, and Roscoe Mitchell. He has performed at numerous national and regional conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance and the 2003 World Saxophone Congress. He has also been a featured guest artist at Northwestern University, Arizona State University, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the University of Idaho, and high schools throughout the United States. Matt’s debut jazz recording, Vortex, was released in March 2006. He has published articles in both Downbeat magazine and The Saxophone Symposium, and Walrus Music publishes Matt's original compositions for large jazz ensemble.

Matt is active nationally as a clinician and adjudicator. He presented a clinic on playing "both sides" of the saxophone at the 2009 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. He frequently presents clinics and master classes at high schools areound the country, and serves as an adjudicator for several high school jazz festivals. He was previously the instructor of saxophone for the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and a summer instructor for the National High School Music Institute at Northwestern University. He also conducted one of two 2005 South Carolina Band Directors Association All-State Jazz Ensembles. He holds memberships in a variety of professional music societies including the North American Saxophone Alliance, Jazz Education Network, National Association for Music Education, BMI, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia

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