Matt Mason is a composer and pianist from Lincoln, Illinois whose compositions fall into either of two categories: dark and somber (which sharply contrasts with his often effervescent personality) or subtly humorous (which elucidates his often effervescent personality). His compositions represent an intersection of poetry, theater, and music creating a psychogramm where melodic, harmonic, and intervallic elements are dictated by tense constellations and brooding undertones. Matt’s current work emphasizes research into dissociation, mental health, queer visibility, nostalgia, and ethics in contemporary performance. Matt received his B.M. in Piano Performance from Illinois Wesleyan University and his M.M. in Piano and Composition from Butler University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Composition and Theory from the University of Iowa. He has studied with Michael Schelle, Frank Felice, Sivan Cohen Elias, Jean-Francois Charles, David Gompper, David Vayo, R. Kent Cook, Kate Boyd, Karen Thickstun, and Cathy Bringerud.
Matt has been a featured composer and performer at the Illinois Wesleyan University Chamber Festival and for the Legacy Theater in Springfield Illinois. At the latter, he was a member of their artistic team, directing their orchestra, accompanying, and coaching their performers in many regional theatrical premieres, including Musicals, Cabarets, and Operas. Matt is also an educator, teaching privately through Butler Community Arts School and the YMCA Arts Program, the latter which he helped create. Matt has chaired the Butler Youth Composition Program as well as the Community Arts Theory Program. In 2019, Matt was the Butler Community Arts School employee of the year and received the employee leadership award. As an educator, Matt has taught classes in Music Theory, Digital Arts and Electronic Music, and Composition. As well, Matt is currently an accompanist for the ballet department at the University of Iowa.
Matt has been a commissioned composer for the Out of the Box piano duo, trombone soloist Zachary Siegel, Indy Pop-Up Opera, Susanne Kessel, the international 250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven Project, clarinetist Thomas Piercy, Moments in This Time Project, The Queens New Music Festival, Random Access Music, National Water Dances, Hypercube Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, University of Arizona Department of Dance, and the University of Iowa String Orchestra. Matt has presented works at Midwest Composer's Symposium, Midwest Graduate Symposium, and has worked with the JACK quartet at the University of Iowa.
Besides music, Matt is a fan of popular culture and is the co-host of the podcast "Watch No Evil," focused on horror media including film, television, video games, and music.