Matt was privileged to play in the University of Maine August Faculty Ensemble this year, and we have the videos to prove it! Along with Matt were Michael Dease, Tim Weir, Steve Grover, Greg Loughman, and David Wells.
from Accent Magazine Winter 2008, Volume 68
Yamaha is proud to announce 28-year old jazz pianist and teacher Matthew Fogg is the first endorsee under a new program titled Artists in Education. Living up to Yamaha’s long and dedicated history of supporting music education, Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs, Inc. has developed this new program to support those devoted to both creating and teaching music.
“This program was important to us because we wanted to be able to support the world-class musicians who also dedicate their time to education,” saya Chris Gero, Vice President of Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs, Inc. Fogg says he is thrilled to be welcomed into the Yamaha Artist family and to be recognized for both his playing and teaching, two things that hold equal importance in his life. Fogg plays and teaches with Yamaha acoustic C2 or C3 conservatory grand pianos and a U1 upright piano.
“It is an exciting new step forward for all of Yamaha as we recognize the contributions to music and music education by these new Yamaha Artist educators,” says Mike Bates, Director of Yamaha Institutional and Commercial Services. “Far from the old adage ‘those who can’t perform teach,’ these fine musicians are also straight-ahead great performers, inspiring their students to reach for the highest quality performances they can achieve…and showing them how it’s done.”
Fogg’s musical journey began as a trumpet player at the ag of ten, but after taking an interest in legendary jazz musicians Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett during his high school years, he quickly developed a passion for jazz piano. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Music Education with an emphasis on piano. Following graduation Fogg embarked on a career as an educator, working as the director of choral music at Morse High School in Bath, Maine. Ever drawn to the world of creating and performing, Fogg maintained an active schedule as an artit as well.
“It was never a question of either/or or me. I always wanted to be a teacher, but playing came very natural to me as well,” says Fogg. “Ultimately I ended up with two seperate career paths that were joined by the love of music. I feel like being an educator complements being an artist becaue it leads me through a constant process of discovery.”
While at UNH, Fogg began a musical colaboration with Voclist Nicole Hajj, and it was with her that he recorded Live at The Azure Cafe, an album that garnered glowing revoews and recieved airplay in numerous states and half a dozen countries. In 2005, he was asked to join an impressive roster of artists performing for jazz legend Clark Terry’s 85th birthday celebration. In May 2006, he released This is What You Want, an album that allowed Fogg to experiment with vintage keyboards and embraced a wide range of musical styles. As with Azure, it was greeted with consistently positive reviews and earned him special praise for his keyboard and arranging skills.
Fogg continues to educate, currently spending his daylight hours as the Music Education/Choral Music Director for the Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland, ME. He is also the adjunct professor at Bowdoin College and at the University of Maine in Augusta.
from The Maine Switch January 10, 2008 by Amber Olesen
Living on the West End in Portland, married with a 4-month-old son, Matthew Fogg juggles a very busy lifestyle. Both a musician and teacher, this 29-year-old has a long list of artistic activities and musical interests.
Developing his talents at a young age playing trumpet, Fogg entered the Regional Music Festival. But after hearing a jazz trio play, he set his sights on piano, which proved to be a better fit. He attended the University of New Hampshire and received a degree in music education, and Fogg now uses that knowledge to teach jazz piano at Lyman Moore Middle School, in classes at the University of Maine in Augusta and Bowdoin College and privately at the Tony Boffa School of Music.
“Teaching informs and enhances my music vocabulary … we pull out a tune, start working and they plant a seed,” Fogg says of his students. He describes teaching music as an improvisational relationship — never dictating. Fogg speaks enthusiastically of having specific goals for his students but encourages them to have fun and explore their own talents. Working with students of all levels and abilities lends inspiration to Fogg’s own music.
In addition to teaching, Fogg has several ongoing ventures. He does freelance work as a jazz pianist, playing at Azure Café in Freeport as well as clubs, restaurants and private parties. Fogg frequently teams with singer Nicole Hajj and they recorded a CD together in 2005 called Live at the Azure Café (Find it at www.mattfogg.com). In 2006, Fogg recorded an original CD called “This is What You Want”. Also a member of Jaye Drew and A Moving Train, a hip hop/funk band, Fogg says the band is “five different people with different backgrounds coming together to create an original sound.” A CD is in the works for this group as well. Fogg also makes time for Retrospecticus, a cover band made up of friends, which plays the local bar scene. Fogg was the first recipient of the Yamaha Artist in Education award, given to recognize performers who spend time teaching others. “I would love to use my music advocacy and convince people to do more incredible things with music in schools and different organizations,” he says.
About six months ago, Fogg began to focus on his voice and singing capabilities. “As I grow up and get older, I think of what I can do to have a successful music career,” he says. “Learning to combine musical talents with personality is the key to branding as an artist. Once my vocals are on point, I am going to cut my own album, combining the piano with the vocals. “My utopic world would be to wake up, have a cup of coffee, play with my child and then go down and make music in my studio.” When applauded for how much he does for the music community, Fogg simply says, “We all do what we do and try to make a positive impact.” As a composer, performer and teacher, he seems well on his way to influencing the musical world in Maine and beyond.
from Port City LIFE November 2007 by Mindy Favreau
To counter the undeserved but perhaps prevailing wisdom that says the current group of recent college graduates-sometimes called Generation Y, sometimes called Millennials-is (fill in the blank; self-absorbed, brash, too plugged in to look up from their computers), we decided to zero in on a few 20-somethings in Maine who are already making a contribution in their fields. What’s more, these four demonstrate that you don’t have to leave the state to be successful. And to bolster our argument in favor of these new kids on the block, we had four other 20-somethings write up their profiles.
Matt Fogg, 28, wasn’t always a gifted musician. He joined the band in fifth grade and quickly became, he says, “the worst trumpet player in the whole school.” Still, the Biddeford native persisted, and in high school he auditioned for a spot in a regional music festival. He didn’t get it. But what happened at that audition changed the course of his musical career.
“Walking out, I passed this jazz audition, and it was awesome,” he recalls. I just thought, “What is this sound I’m hearing?” For the first time, I knew what I wanted to do. It was like a lightning bolt.”
Fogg started taking piano lessons, auditioned the following year at the same festival as a jazz pianist, and made the cut. He bought his first tuxedo not for the prom, but for his first major gig at the swanky former Seascapes Restaurant (now Pier 77) on Cape Porpoise.
Now, over ten years later, Fogg has turned his passion into a busy career. Some nights he’s entertaining dinner guests at the Azure Cafe in Freeport. Other nights he’s offering up high-energy renditions of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” with the band Retrospecticus at the Montsweag Roadhouse in Woolwich. He’s already put out three CDs-two with vocalist Nicole Hajj, and one with vocalist Cheri Gaudet Grimmet and guitarist Scott Morgan. A fourth, a collection of hip hop and funk-inspired tunes with the band Jaye Drew and a Moving Train, is due out next spring.
In his various collaborations, he plays everything from blues, jazz, and gospel to 1950s pop, 1980s hair band rock, and hip hop. “Anything that I do, I take it to the nth degree,” he says. “When I get passionate about something, I have to immerse myself in it.”
By day, Fogg, who has a degree in music education, teaches jazz piano or vocals at Bowdoin College, the University of Maine at Augusta, and the Tony Boffa School of Music in Westbrook. For the past three years, he’s directed the chorus at the Lyman Moore Middle-School in Portland, luring “kids who never come to the band and chorus room” with musical programs that include Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” complete with guitar solos. “My teaching philosophy for kids that age is to get as many as possible interested in loving music,” he says. This philosophy has earned him national attention. Earlier this year, he was featured in Keyboard magazine, and in August he received the very first Yamaha Artists in Education endorsement.
Lately Fogg’s been sticking closer to home for his latest project: fatherhood. In September, he and his wife, a nurse, welcomed their first child, a son named Paxton. “I like the high energy lifestyle, but managing my time is tough,” he says. “If I’m not working on anything, I fall into a funk. I just keep wanting to create art. That’s the driving force-the passion to do something different.”
-Mindy Favreau, a 2007 summa cum laude, graduate of Colby College, works as an editorial assistant at Maine Biz.
from The Portland Forecaster – March 7, 2007 by Peter Smith
Portland – It all started when he was in the fourth grade. Matt Fogg went to his high school auditorium for a performance of the wind ensemble. What he heard was the coolest thing ever (at least for an 11-year-old): The soundtrack to “M*A*S*H.” Afterwards, he wanted to learn how to make music, so his dad took him to a pawn shop and bought him a used trumpet.
Fogg now teaches sixth-grade vocal music at Lyman Moore Middle School. In warmer weather, he rides his bike from the West End, down Washington Avenue to the Auburn Street school. On the bus ride, students would see him pedaling – the first of many indications that Fogg is not an ordinary choral teacher.
By the ninth grade, the trumpet had gotten old. It got especially old when Fogg wasn’t invited to play at the Southern Maine Music Festival. On his way out of the try-outs, he heard someone talking about jazz. About jazz piano.
Today, Fogg’s classroom at Lyman Moore is wired with 24 piano keyboards. He teaches four music classes and a chorus class. He also teaches jazz piano at Bowdoin College and the University of Maine at Augusta. He works with the Jewish Youth Chorus. He’s working on producing a comedy CD with his younger brother Ben (though Ben thinks Matt is the funny one).
“And Friday night,” he said, “I went gigging.”
When his sixth-graders ask about gigging, Fogg laughs. “Oh, you guys are too young,” he tells them.
Fogg is an easy-going guy with a hard-working ethos. He plays at RiRa and Brian Boru. He plays the old standards. He plays originals. He plays a little of everything. He played two shows last Friday, two shows Saturday and one show Sunday.
Fogg played in high school and he played in college. At the University of New Hampshire, he had a blind theater professor who performed scenes from a Braille script in front of the class; he never missed that one. The more his teachers performed, he said, the more he performed. That’s something he tries to pass on to his students.
Fogg, who describes himself as not particularly stylish, is a 28-year-old entertainer who usually treads the school hallway in black duds. But gigging gives him some street cred: How many public school teachers have publicists? How many teachers have publicists who send reviewers CDs wrapped in chocolates just to get a review? How many teachers are on iTunes, MySpace, and CDBaby? How many teachers teach hundreds of middle schoolers to sing Freddy Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”? (Or team teach history with Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”?)
“Music has brought me to a lot of cool places,” Fogg said. And middle school is one of those places.
But making money just making music may be unrealistic. All the jazz greats had music gigs. And they also had teaching gigs, he said. “If it were really possible, they’d be doing it,” Fogg said.
Fogg had a show last year at Lyman Moore that was something of a hit, if choral enrollment is any indication – this year, it jumped 300 percent.
Still, Fogg hopes to make it big. So far, he’s been featured in Keyboard magazine, on Maine Public Radio and WCSH-TV’s “207″. he’s hoping to write one hit song, just one.
“All you have to do is write one hit tune,” he said, “and you can get your kids through college.”
from Keyboard Magazine – January 2007 by Ed Coury
In 1903, George Bernard Shaw wrote, “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” If George were around today he’d be eating those words, after meeting Matt Fogg.
The 28-year-old music teacher does more in one week than many of us do in a month. Monday through Friday, Mr. Fogg is the vocal music instructor at Lyman Moore Middle School, near his home in Portland, Maine. Weekday evenings he teaches jazz piano at the University of Maine at Augusta, and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. And as if that weren’t enough to keep him busy, Matt directs the Jewish Youth Chorus of Maine (which is no small feat; Matt isn’t Jewish, so he learned the repertoire from scratch).
Okay, it’s apparent that Matt can teach. But can he “do”? The answer is yes – and he does it all weekend long.
You might catch Matt playing jazz standards at a classy Portland restaurant. He brings along a Yamaha P120 or P140 – and sometimes adds female vocalist Nicole Hajj. Matt and Nicole have recorded together, and their jazz tunes have been played on radio stations overseas.
Those gigs are quite a contrast to the shows Matt puts on with his cover band, Retrospecticus. “We try to do the whole rock star image,” he says. “We wear T-shirts and try to put on a really good rock show.” He describes the band’s playlist as “a mix of disco, soul, rock, and funk. Just all kinds of covers from the ‘50’s to the late ‘80’s.”
Matt’s Retrospecticus rig consists of his Yamaha P120, the 73-key version of the Nord Electro 2, a microKORG, and sometimes an Angel melodica, “for a few tunes like Stevie’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’.” Matt likes the sound of Yamaha pianos (which explains why he owns two). He puts the Electro in the mix for its great clonewheel abilities. And the microKORG is added for classic and modern synth sounds. “It has some of the cool analog sounds that Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg used, like on Doggie Style.”
The Motion Sound KP200S is Matt’s main amp. He runs in stereo and sends a feed from the amp’s stereo outs to the band’s P.A. system when needed. Monitoring is in-ear, with Shure E3 High Energy earphones. Matt supports his boards with an On-Stage Stands Folding Z keyboard stand with an added tier, or the two-tier On-Stage KSA7500 X-style stand.
The makeup of Matt’s rig is subject to change. Sometimes he takes his Kurzweil PC88 to a job. For really big shows, such as the Festival for Cultural Exchange in Portland, he puts his arm and back muscles to the test and brings his Hammond A-100, Leslie 120, Wurlitzer 200A, and Fender Rhodes Suitcase.
Matt may be in the classroom five days a week, but on-going recording projects with vocalist Jaye Drew as well as Morgan, Fogg, and Grimmett (an original group which recently released a CD) might make him a star one day. “All the things I do are an attempt to get out there and be known, and get my stuff heard,” he says. If he did make it to the big time, Matt would like to write and produce, making enough, he says, “to do whatever I want, when I want.”
Being a part-time performer has paid off in the classroom for Matt. He brought Retrospecticus to school one night to play a two-and-a-half hour dance. “Lot of kids in Portland never have a chance to hear a concert,” he says, “so I wanted to get the band in there.”
His effort paid off. “255 kids joined the chorus after we played,” he says. “The previous year we only had 80. Being a weekend pro gives a teacher some street cred. If they don’t find me credible, they won’t listen to anything I tell them.”