Matthew Whitaker

Matthew Whitaker's Biography

Musician Matthew Whitaker, a resident of Hackensack, NJ, is a truly gifted musician.  His desire to play music began at the age of 3 when his grandfather gave him a small Yamaha keyboard.  At the age of 9, Matthew began to teach himself how to play the Hammond B3 organ.  At age 13, became the youngest artist endorsed by Hammond Organ in its 81 year history.  He was also honored to be named a Yamaha Artist at just 15 years old, becoming the youngest pianist to join this elite group of musicians.

Matthew studies classical piano and drums at The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School of Lighthouse Guild for the Blind and Visually Impaired in New York City.  He attends the Manhattan School of Music's Precollege Jazz program; he's attended The Harlem School of the Arts for piano studies in Jazz and was a member of both the Jazz House Big Band and Organ Messengers at Jazz House Kids in Montclair, NJ. 

​Matthew was the 1st place winner on "Showtime at the Apollo" hosted by Steve Harvey for Fox TV.  He was also the opening performer for Stevie Wonder's induction into the Apollo Theater's Legends Hall of Fame as a 9 year old "Amateur Night Child Stars of Tomorrow" winning participant.  Matthew has been performing on stages both domestically and internationally.  He's performed before the UN Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City and on the stages of the world famous Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, all in New York City, as well as The San Francisco Jazz Center, in San Francisco, CA, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, DC, The Raymond F. Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL, The  Ali Cultural Arts Center in Pompano Beach, FL and internationally in Vienne France, Capri Italy, Tetouan Morocco, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.

Some of the artists that Matthew has performed with include Ray Chew, Christian McBride, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rhoda Scott, Jon Batiste, Cory Henry, Marc Cary, Arturo O'Farrill, James Carter, Roy Ayers, D.D. Jackson, Wayne Brady; Jazz Mafia Symphony; Ozomatli and The New York Pops Orchestra and with Hamiet Bluiett and his Bio-Electric Ensemble.  When not on the road, he can be found playing the drums or the organ during worship service at New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, New Jersey, his home church.   

​Matthew has been recognized by various organizations including, Outstanding Soloist Award, Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Outstanding Soloist Award, Charles Mingus HS Competition and Festival, Most Remarkable Young Person on Screen, Harlem International Film Festival and a Community Service Award from Bergen County, New Jersey.  Matthew has appeared on US and Japanese television.

 Having composed several original compositions, Matthew names a list of stellar musicians, composers/arrangers as his artistic influences including, organists Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Rhoda Scott; pianist/keyboardist Stevie Wonder, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Ahmad Jamal, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Chick Corea, Jon Batiste, Cory Henry, Marc Cary, D.D. Jackson, Chopin, Bach and drummers Roy Haynes, T.S. Monk, Herlin Riley, Otis Brown III, Otis Brown Jr, and Jonathan Blake. 

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Matthew Whitaker