Young piano and organ phenomenon Matthew Whitaker is one of the most exciting talents to emerge in recent years. A child prodigy, he has since shared the stage with some of the biggest and brightest stars in jazz. Whitaker also shines as an award-winning composer and an acclaimed bandleader whose unrelenting energy uplifts his bands and audiences alike.
Please bring your own seating for this concert, as it takes place on our grassy Friends Field. You can even bring or purchase a picnic dinner! This concert takes place rain or shine. If it rains, we will move into the Venetian Theater.
Matthew Whitaker, piano
Marcos Robinson, guitar
Karim “Kace” Hutton, bass
Johnny Steele, drums
Ivan Llanes, percussion
“Beyond his innate musical abilities is a sheer joy and passion to create music.” — WBGO
Born in 2001 in Hackensack, NJ, Matthew Whitaker grew up surrounded by music. His love for playing music first began at the young age of 3 after his grandfather gave him a small Yamaha keyboard.
At 9, Matthew began teaching himself how to play the Hammond B3 organ. Four years later, he became the youngest artist to be endorsed by Hammond in its 80+ year history. He was also named a Yamaha Artist at 15, becoming the youngest musician to join the stellar group of jazz pianists.
Matthew has toured both here in the US and abroad, performing on world-renowned stages, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, and Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC; SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival and at international venues in France, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Portugal, Japan, Spain, Morocco, and South Korea.
In 2010, Matthew was a winning participant in the Child Stars of Tomorrow competition, as part of Amateur Night at the Apollo. A year later, at just 10 years old, he was invited to perform at Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo Theater’s Hall of Fame. He returned to the Apollo for FOX TV’s revival of Showtime at the Apollo in 2016, where he won the audience over with his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s classic I Wish. Matthew has been on national and international radio and television, which includes the Today Show documentary series Boys Changing the World, the Harry Connick Jr. Show, an appearance on the syndicated TV talk show Ellen, and a segment on the most-watched news magazine on television 60 Minutes.
2019 & 2020, Winner of the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award for his original compositions Emotions & Underground!
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