Hailed by the Saxophone Journal as “a complete virtuoso of the tenor saxophone” and by the New York Times for his “energetic and enlivening” performances, Matt is the founding tenor saxophonist of the PRISM Quartet, an award-winning, critically-acclaimed chamber ensemble specializing in new music. Winners of two Chamber Music America/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, PRISM has concertized extensively throughout the Americas, including a five-country tour of Latin America under the auspices of the U.S. State Department culminating in appearances with Chilean folk group Inti-Illimani. PRISM has been presented by Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras. PRISM has commissioned over 125 works by the nation’s leading composers, including William Albright, William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Bright Sheng, Zhou Long, Jennifer Higdon, Bernard Rands, Steven Mackey, and Chen Yi. PRISM has also led collaborative projects with an eclectic range of partners, including Music From China, Ethel, Cantori New York, Talujon Percussion Quartet, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and jazz artists Ben Monder, Larry Goldings, Rick Margitza, Gerald Cleaver, and John Riley. Matt serves as Executive Director of PRISM’s nonprofit organization and has worked to successfully develop the ensemble’s concert series, commissioning, recording, and residency programs.
Matt holds three degrees from the University of Michigan, where he was a James B. Angell Scholar and a recipient of the Lawrence Teal Award. His teachers included saxophonist Donald Sinta; composers William Albright, William Bolcom, and Fred Lerdahl; and music theorists Ellwood Derr and Robert Hatten. Matt has served on the faculties of Settlement Music School and the Universities of Michigan, Redlands, and Toledo. As a solo artist, he has commissioned and premiered works by many composers, including Paola Prestini, Renee Favand, and David Ludwig; collaborated with a host of choreographers and dance companies, among them Peter Sparling, Scrap Performance Group, and Group Motion Dance Theater; and appeared as a guest artist with the Detroit and Delaware Symphony Orchestra, among others. The recipient of two fellowships in jazz composition from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Matt has composed works for orchestra, choir, musical theater, dance, jazz and electronic music ensembles and scored four motion pictures, including PBS’s Diary of a City Priest by Emmy nominee Eugene Martin, featured at the Sundance Film Festival. His music has been described as “gorgeous and ethereal” by Classical Magazine and “pulsing and wittily colored” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and has been broadcast on NPR’s “Performance Today” from Washington DC, WQRS’s “Around Town” from Detroit, WQXR’s “The Listening Room” from New York City, WFMT’s “Dame Myra Hess Series” from Chicago, CBC, and “Voice of America.” He has recorded for Koch International, Albany, Naxos, Deutsche Grammophon, Tzadik, Innova, and Grammavision.
Since 2000, Matt Levy has served as Director of the Philadelphia Music Project (PMP), an Artistic Initiative of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage that fosters artistic excellence and innovation in Greater Philadelphia’s nonprofit music community. Matt oversees PMP’s grant-making, convening panels of nationally recognized musicians, composers, and presenters to adjudicate proposals from organizations seeking support for adventurous public programming. Matt edits PMP’s annual webzine; curates and produces PMP seminars, symposia, book lectures, workshops, conferences, and field trips; and engages leading consulting firms to provide guidance to constituents in strategic planning, public relations/marketing, and resource and board development.