Gary Matsumoto

Gary Matsumoto

Keyboard Performance

Throughout his career, Gary Matsumoto has developed a reputation for being a first-rate pianist, composer, arranger, and educator in Southern California. Matsumoto was born and raised in Los Angeles, where he still calls home. And while he can still be seen playing regularly in the greater LA area, he also performs throughout the year in venues across the U.S. as well as internationally.

Matsumoto started playing piano at the age of 6, but his interest in music began to peak while attending the University of California, Irvine. There, in addition to classical lessons with Dr. Lorna Griffith, Matsumoto studied with Miles Davis pianist Kei Akagi. In 1999, he graduated with a B.M. in music performance and in 2002 received his master’s degree in jazz studies from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with David Roistein. While in school, Matsumoto took every advantage to study and play with great musicians like Joe LaBarbera, Charlie Haden, Darek Oles, Larry Koonse, Wadada Leo Smith, and James Newton, among others.

Matsumoto has been a regular on the LA jazz scene for well over a decade. Playing and recording credits include Renee Olstead, George Benson, Henry Franklin, Bruce Foreman, Sara Gazarek, Jane Monheit, Azar Lawrence, Bobby Rodriguez, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Clayton Cameron, Ricky Woodard, Jeff Clayton, James Carter, Herman Riley, Sam Most, and Phil Ranelin and Dave Damiani. But the entirety of his career has seen him in a variety of settings. In addition to jazz, he has performed and recorded with rock, pop, country, and classical groups. Some of his earliest jobs were in musical theatre, where Matsumoto worked as a pianist and musical director.

In 2003, he went on tour with famed MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, opening for Cheap Trick. Matsumoto has also worked with film composer Nathan Wang on various projects, including performing in concerts with international recording artists Coco Lee, JJ Lin, Vivian Hsu, and Jenny Tseng.

In 2008, SP records released The Matsumoto Trio – Days Ahead, his first as a leader. He has also been featured on over a dozen recordings by other artists, including Dave Damiani’s recent release Midlife Crisis on Hard Knocks Records.


Master of Fine Arts in Jazz Studies | California Institute of the Arts