Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents Matthew Whitaker in his Center debut for two performances on Sunday, March 27 at 4:00pm and 7:00pm in the Jazz Club in Samueli Theatre. After demonstrating his prodigious talent while still a young child, 20-year-old composer and pianist Matthew Whitaker has established himself as one of the hottest new names in jazz.
At 10, he was the opening performer for Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo Theater’s Hall of Fame. At 15, he was named a Yamaha Artist, becoming the youngest musician to join the stellar group of jazz pianists. He has toured extensively, both in the US and abroad, performing on many world-renowned stages. He has recorded two acclaimed albums, and his story was recently featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
Matthew has toured both in the US and abroad, performing before The Youth Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in NYC, and on other 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 and at international venues in France, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Portugal, Japan, Spain and Morocco.
Matthew has performed with an array of outstanding musicians: Ray Chew, Christian McBride, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rhoda Scott, Cameron Carpenter, Regina Carter, Jason Moran, Jon Batiste, Cory Henry, Marc Cary, Arturo O’Farrill, James Carter, Roy Ayers, D.D. Jackson, The New York Pops Orchestra and with Hamiet Bluiett and his Bio-Electric Ensemble.
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” their documentary series “Boys Changing The World,” Harry Connick Jr Show and an appearance on the syndicated TV talk show “Ellen.”
The Los Angeles Times said, “Alternating between the two keyboards, Whitaker summoned ghosts of Larry Young and Oscar Peterson. The instrumental trio inspired spontaneous dancing and a standing ovation. As a student of great piano masters, he has quickly identified the buttons that resonate with a crowd looking for a good time.”
The Wall Street Journal said, “In spite his young age, Mr. Whitaker was one of the more sought-after guests; older musicians came up to him to praise his performance and to introduce themselves.”
Wendy Oxenhorn, Executive Director of Jazz Foundation of America, said, “If you could imagine what Ray Charles and Jimmy McGriff looked like at age 13 but played like at age 30, then you will discover Matthew Whitaker.”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds its jazz series media sponsor, KKJZ ( KJazz 88.1FM).
Single tickets for Matthew Whitaker at Segerstrom Center for the Arts start at $59 and are now available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.