Matthew Saunders (b. 1976, Austin, Tx.) is an American educator and composer.
Dr. Saunders is professor of music and music and theater department chair at Lakeland Community College (Kirtland, Ohio), where he also directs the Lakeland Civic Orchestra. Prior to coming to Lakeland in 2012, he held the position of associate professor of music and director of bands at Oklahoma Panhandle State University from 2007 to 2012. He received degrees in music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and The Ohio State University. Dr. Saunders studied composition with Donald Harris, Thomas Wells, Jan Radzynski, and Wes Flinn, and trombone with Joseph Duchi and Tony Chipurn.
Dr. Saunders’ original compositions have been performed across the country, including performances at national conferences of the National Flute Association, the International Horn Society, and the Society of Composers, and he has presented his research on rhythm at conferences of the College Music Society and the Society of Composers, and at the Oklahoma Music Theory Roundtable and the Aspen Composers Conference. His works for large ensemble have been performed by the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra (Columbus, Ohio), the Marquette (Michigan) Symphony Orchestra, and Oklahoma Panhandle State University. His work South Africa for horn and marimba received support from the Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Fund of the International Horn Society, and appears on faculty and graduate recitals across the United States and throughout the world. His Azteca Dances for woodwind quintet, after a successful premiere by the Solaris quintet in Cleveland, was performed by faculty at High Point University (North Carolina) and by the Wind Speaks ensemble at the University of Oregon. He received the 2007 Ruth Friscoe Prize for composition, was the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association 2011 Commissioned Composer (for his Piano Sonata), and is the recipient of five ASCAP Plus Awards.
Dr. Saunders has received commissions and commissioning support from the Johnstone Fund for New Music, the McConnell Arts Center (Columbus, Ohio), and Florida Gulf Coast University, the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestras, and collaborated on commissions and performances with members and faculty of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toledo (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Navy Band Northeast, and the University of Wisconsin-Stout, among others.
Dr. Saunders was elected to the Cleveland Composers Guild in 2012, and currently serves as secretary of that group. With B.J. Brooks, he co-hosted the 2012 Society of Composers Region VI Conference at West Texas A&M University. His collaboration with pianist Avguste Antonov has yielded performances of his solo piano works throughout the plains and midwest states, and led to the 2014 premiere of his Piano Concerto.
As a conductor, Dr. Saunders has been the director of the Lakeland Civic Orchestra since 2012, where he has championed the music of Northeast Ohio composers and commissioned works from Daniel Perttu, Olivia Kieffer, and Cooper Wood, and collaborated with performing faculty members from Kent State University, Cleveland State University, Baldwin Wallace University, and Westminster University. In his position at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Dr. Saunders was the director of bands, including concert, athletic, and mariachi ensembles.
Dr. Saunders’ major instrument is trombone, and he has appeared as soloist in his trombone concerto Homo sapiens trombonensis, and in his 40-minute work for unaccompanied trombone, Twenty Views of the Trombone. He maintains a private studio at the Fine Arts Association in Willoughby, Ohio.
Dr. Saunders has written articles for The Journal of Band Research, Music Educators Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Society of Composers Newsletter, and The Instrumentalist.
Works for Winds
- Aggie Songs (2009)
- Azteca Dances (2010)
- Daytime Drama (2010-2011)
- Homo sapiens trombonensis (2005)
- Lady Glides on the Moon (2012)
- Moriarty's Necktie (2011)
- Mysterious Marvels (2019)
- Ode (2008)
- Pas de deux (2006)
- Pastorale (2007)
- Progress Through Knowledge (2009)
- Psalm 57 (2003)
- Sinfonietta (2002)
- South Africa (2009)
- Variations on a French Carol (2001)