Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies and Saxophone; Professor Emeritus
Rick VanMatre is an exploratory saxophonist in the worlds of jazz, classical, and progressive music and has presented solo recitals, orchestral concerti, and jazz club performances in the US, Europe, Israel, Brazil, China, Korea, Thailand, and Australia. He is widely recognized for bringing a unique, identifiable voice to a variety of genres. In addition to recording with his own groups showcasing his compositions, he has also recorded as featured jazz soloist with numerous ensembles like the PsychoAcoustic Orchestra, the Kim Pensyl Ensemble, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. His diverse experience ranges from appearances with the most honored names in jazz such as the Duke Ellington Orchestra led by Mercer Ellington, the Woody Herman Orchestra led by Frank Tiberi, to jazz greats like Roland Vazquez, Frank Vincent, Dee Felice, John McNeil and Gene Bertoncini, to cutting edge composers like Tim Hagans. VanMatre has commissioned five crossover jazz/classical concerti and performed them with orchestras including the New York Repertory Orchestra, Sichuan Symphony Orchestra (China), Jeju Wind Orchestra (South Korea), and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. As a classical and jazz saxophonist, he has appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Kentucky Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Illinois Philharmonic, Middletown Symphony, Sheboygan Symphony, concert:nova, the Ariel Quartet, and James Conlon’s Linton Series. He holds the soprano chair in the New Third Stream Saxophone Quartet.
Reviewing his CD Lines Above on Summit Records, Fanfare magazine wrote “VanMatre is simply an outstanding and awe-inspiring improviser and jazz composer.” The Chicago Star has written that “VanMatre’s art is without comparison; his technique exact, yet smooth, his expression poignant and personal,” and the Cincinnati Enquirer has stated that his “artistry was seamless, technically superb and musically inventive...His musicianship was so effortless.”
Formerly as the CCM’s Director of Jazz Studies, he was responsible for expanding the BM in Jazz, creating the MM in Jazz Studies and the DMA in Saxophone, and establishing the Jazz Recording Studio. He also organized the CCM Visiting Artist Series and conducted concerts featuring over 150 important jazz performers and composers such as Kenny Garrett, Slide Hampton, Joe Henderson, Ahmad Jamal, David Liebman, Jim McNeely, and Joshua Redman. As director of the CCM Jazz Ensemble, he produced five CD recordings for Sea Breeze Records. Serenade in Blue was described by Cadence magazine as a “necessary part of any big-band enthusiast's library” and Jazz News praised Carnival of Life as being “performed with conspicuous elegance and precision.”
He has presented performances and lectures for IAJE, MENC, NASA, WSC, and Jamey Aebersold. He has written for Saxophone Journal, is on the Editorial Board for the Saxophone Symposium, and has served as Executive Board Member and Jazz Coordinator for NASA.
VanMatre has been named “Best Jazz Musician” by Cincinnati Magazine, a “reed titan” by Midwest Jazz magazine, and the “Ernest N. Glover Outstanding Teacher” by CCM students. In 2018 he was inducted into the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame. His undergraduate studies were at the College-Conservatory of Music and Berklee College of Music, and he received his MM (Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media) from the Eastman School of Music.
Website: rickvanmatre.com YouTube Channel: RickVanMatre
BM, summa cum laude: University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music
MM: Eastman School of Music Rochester, NY,