Biography

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  Matt was invited to participate in the project “250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven” by Susanne Kessel. His piece “Heiligenstadt Echo” was premiered in Germany in December of 2018, and was published in England in 2019. His piece “Endenich Echo” is scheduled for its German Premiere later this year. He has also composed for New York and Tokyo based clarinetist Thomas Piercy. His piece, "Reflection on Ichimu's Death Poem" was recorded in the summer of 2019 and he further collaborated with Piercy for the "Moments in this Time" benefit concert in Tokyo. Recently, Matt has been asked to compose a piece for the University of Iowa All String Orchestra. They will premier his piece "Prismatic Nightmare" in May of 2020. "Leidenfrost: More Than A Cold Shoulder" premiered at the Midwest Graduate Symposium which also featured a presentation on the work. In the spring of 2021, his piece "Monologic III" for String Quartet will be premiered by the Jack Quartet. 

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.  

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