Equally 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 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, 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 recording with the collaborative jazz sextet Unhinged Sextet, Clarity, and Don't Blink, have received worldwide radio airplay and numerous positive reviews, including being featured on Joey Defrancesco's Sirius/XM radio program "Organized."
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 presented performances and 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. He has presented clinics at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Jazz Education Network Conference, and the South Carolina Music Educators Association professional development conference. 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.