2023 North Dakota All-State Vocal Jazz Director: Matt Falker
Matt Falker is a jazz and gospel pianist, vocalist, arranger and clinician. As a full-time professor at MiraCosta College, Matt directs the Downbeat award-winning Frequency vocal jazz program, teaches theory and piano classes, and is founder and director of the Oceanside Jazz Festival, a non-competitive vocal jazz festival hosted at MiraCosta. Matt was also one of a select group of teachers chosen as a quarter-finalist for the GRAMMY’s Music Educator Award. Driven by a passion to ensure that quality vocal jazz music is available to educators, Matt’s arrangements are written for choirs of all levels.
He now distributes his music through his publishing company, Anchor Music Publications (formerly Sound Music Publications founded by Frank DeMiero in 1988), as well as the music of dozens of other arrangers and composers in the vocal jazz community. Anchor Music also runs a series of one-day vocal jazz workshops for teachers and students called the Vocal Jazz Academy, and hosts an Educator Support community for hundreds of educators on Facebook. The Academy workshops will be hosted in numerous locations around the United States and Canada, resuming in the Fall of 2022.
As a vocalist and pianist, he has presented featured sets at both the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Western Division Conference, with both the Matt Falker Quartet and the ensemble True North. In 2019, he presented a performance of his singing, playing, and arranging at the International Jazz Voice Conference in Helsinki, Finland. A native of northern Michigan, Matt received his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo in jazz piano and his graduate degree from the University of Southern California in jazz voice.
His recent appearances as a guest clinician or performer include festivals in Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Alberta, Manitoba, and California, including prominent events such as the Monterey Jazz Festival and the ACDA National Convention. He has also served as the guest conductor for All-State Vocal Jazz Ensembles for Washington, Colorado, Iowa, Arizona, and others.
He is also on staff for Jeremy Fox’s “Jazz Harmony Retreat”. During Matt’s last sabbatical, he arranged and scored a new musical based on the life and music of Nat ‘King’ Cole. The musical premiered at Morgan State University in Baltimore, and was most recently presented as a virtual stage reading with New York equity actors.