Praised by the Saxophone Journal as “a complete virtuoso of the tenor saxophone” and by The New York Times for his “energetic and enlivening” performances, Matthew Levy is a founding member, and the executive and co-artistic director of the world-renowned PRISM Quartet. His creative work as a solo artist has included performances with numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the Detroit Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, counter)induction, Network for New Music, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and Dolce Suono Ensemble; and concert pianists Steve Beck, Matt Herskowitz, Charles Ambramovic, and Robert Conway.
Matt has also collaborated with a host of choreographers and dance companies, among them Scrap Performance Group, Group Motion Dance Theater, Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, and Miro Dance Theater. His work as both a performer and composer has culminated in collaborations with leading jazz artists, including Jason Moran, Bill Stewart, Ben Monder, Matt Wilson, and John Riley. Matt has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Koch International, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, Grammavision, Innova, ECM, Albany, and Tzadik.
As a member of the PRISM Quartet, Matt has given USIA and USArtists International tours of China, Russia, and Latin America; made concerto appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra and Dallas Symphony; and presented recitals on Carnegie Hall’s Making Music Series and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. PRISM’s collaborators are a who’s who of contemporary music-makers, including BMOP, Ethel, Talujon, So Percussion, Partch, Music From China, The Crossing, Opera Colorado, Inti-Illimani, Nick Didkovsky, and jazz artists Greg Osby, Dave Liebman, Chris Potter, Ravi Coltrane, Gerald Cleaver, and Mark Ferber. PRISM’s discography includes 16 critically acclaimed recordings, four of which feature Matt’s original music. PRISM is a two-time winner of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. In its founding days, PRISM was a winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” and NPR’s “Performance Today,” and was named by Musical America as “Outstanding Young Artists.”
A tireless advocate for new music, Matt has commissioned numerous composers for solo works, including Paola Prestini, David Ludwig, Renee Favand, and Ellwood Derr. His work with PRISM has resulted in commissions of more than 250 saxophone quartets, many from winners of the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur “Genius” Award, Rome Prize, Koussevitzky Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, and Guggenheim Fellowship. Commissioned composers include William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Zhou Long, Miguel Zenon, Jennifer Higdon, Steven Mackey, Ken Ueno, Martin Bresnick, Chen Yi, Bernard Rands, Miguel Zenon, and Steve Lehman.
Matt holds three degrees from the University of Michigan, where he was a James B. Angell Scholar and recipient of the Lawrence Teal Award. His primary saxophone teacher was Donald Sinta. He is a Selmer artist, and plays Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces exclusively.