Matthew Mason, Director/Owner
Matthew Mason is the creator and owner of Pianicity Class Piano. He is an award-winning composer and pianist whose works combine high craft, rich harmony and memorable melody with an accessible and exciting rhythmic edge.
Mr Mason began piano study at the age of 10. By age 11 he was writing music, his first piece being a Barcarolle for solo piano, influenced by Chopin. A Fantasy for piano and orchestra, written at 13, followed. At age 16 he won the Texas Music Teacher’s Association pre-college composition award for his Nocturne for solo piano, which composer David Karp compared favorably to the piano sonata of Alban Berg.
Years of intense piano study followed. While an undergraduate piano performance major at the University of Houston studying with Nancy Weems, Mr Mason competed as a pianist in several national competitions, and played recitals in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Antonio. In 2000, having completed his Bachelor of Music, Mr Mason went on to attend the graduate program in piano at the University of Southern California, where he studied with famed pedagogue Antoinette Perry. While at USC he composed a Toccata for piano (premiered in Los Angeles by Mr Mason) that pianist Roger Wright later played to acclaim in San Antonio, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (where it was broadcast live on the radio all over southern California), and the Hobby Center in Houston. The San Antonio Express-News called it a “jazzy work of jaw-dropping virtuosity that impressed audiences last fall” – it was also the recipient of the National Federation of Music Club’s 2001 Emil and Ruth Beyer composition award, a national composition prize.
In 2014 Mr Mason was commissioned by the internationally renowned quadrennial San Antonio International Piano Competition to compose a new work for the 2016 competition. His resulting work, entitled “Bal Fantôme”, was premiered at the competition by Russian pianist Osip Nikiforov and subsequently performed by the 4 remaining finalists. Mr Mason awarded Mr Nikiforov the special prize of “Best Performance of the Commissioned Work.” Previous commissioned composers for SAIPC include Pulitzer Prize winners Joan Tower and Paul Moravec.
Most recently Mr Mason has been commissioned by Mozart Festival Texas to write a new piano concerto to be premiered in 2019.
Mr Mason has also been active in the commercial composition world, having scored short films for clients as diverse as Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood Centers of Houston, Kemah Boardwalk, Kuwait Oil Company, and many others. He has received three Telly awards for his commercial composition, including the 2012 award for his original compositions created for a series of short films detailing the humanitarian efforts of Habitat for Humanity.
Pianicity was started in Kingwood in 2015. Matthew Mason is the owner and operator of the school and has been active in piano teaching for over twenty years, both in Houston and Los Angeles.
Have a listen to Mr Mason’s “Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini” for piano and orchestra: