Matt Herskowitz is quite simply one of the most skilful, versatile, and soulful pianists on the planet.
Matt shines in many genres, but it’s his outstanding work jazzing up classical music in particular that was the reason I absolutely had to chat with him for the podcast!
I include many generous audio clips of Matt’s playing during the interview to give you a taste of what I love about his playing


Show Notes

  • [3:04] Matt’s classical background and education- Curtis Institute of Music, Julliard with teacher Joseph Kalichstein, further progress with Russian teacher Vladimir Viardo
  • [22:00] Winning piano competitions, and recording the Glazunov 2nd Piano Concerto
  • [28:42] Matt’s jazz background
  • [33:35] Combining classical and jazz. Success with Bach A La Jazz for the soundtrack of The Triplets of Belleville. Bach Reimagined with flautist Andrea Griminelli. Bach XXI with violinist Philippe Quint
  • [43:02] Long-term collaboration in various genres with violinist Lara St. John
  • [54:04] Working on Chopin Etudes
  • [1:03:29] Matt’s arrangement of the slow movement from the Ravel Piano Concerto in G
  • [1:06:36] On Jacques Loussier and Claude Bolling
  • [1:14:46] Future plans. Gershwin’s World video with Paul Merkelo (Principal trumpet with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal). A history of North American jazz & folk music with Lara St. John

Audio Clips

Links:

Matt’s website: www.MattHerskowitzPiano.com

Matt’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/matthersk

Matt’s concert of jazzed-up Chopin Etudes on Medici: https://www.medici.tv/jazz/concert-chopin-version-jazz-avec-matt-herskowitz-salle-bourgie-montreal

Matt’s sheet music of jazz arrangements: https://www.mattherskowitzpiano.com/shop

Joey DeFrancesco- the jazz organist referred to playing the jazz vespers (yes I do really like his playing!): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_DeFrancesco

Brad Mehldau- After Bach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Bach

Herbie Hancock- Ravel Piano Concerto In G: Adagio Assai: https://youtu.be/VYwXQAZkoiY

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations/Loussier Trio: https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-4344/

Claude Bolling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Bolling

Piano Caméléons- Matt Herskowitz & John Roney jazzing up classical music: https://stationbleue.com/en/artists/piano-cameleons/

I’m in the process of setting up a website dedicated to cross-genre classical & jazz-when it’s ready I’ll update here with a link to other musicians who arrange classical music in a jazz style while keeping the structure intact


Notes:

Many thanks to the C. Bechstein Centre in Manchester for letting me use one of their soundproofed teaching/practice rooms to record this podcast episode: https://www.bechstein.co.uk

Intro/outro music is Dreaming by Robert Schumann arranged by Matt Herskowitz: https://youtu.be/hT4Wsmt93xM