Gary Matsuura enjoys an active career as composer, arranger, music educator and performer of saxophones, flutes and clarinets. Equally at home in the jazz and classical idioms, his compositions and arrangements have been performed by the Capistrano Valley Symphony, Garden Grove Symphony, the California Concert Artists, the Disneyland Saxophone Quintet, the Tokyo Disneyland Band, universities and high schools. He has served as music director, arranger and lead woodwind with the Tokyo Disneyland Band, and in the same capacity for two consecutive Los Angeles Nisei Week Coronation Balls.
Mr. Matsuura was a featured soloist in a performance with Celine Dion and Rosie O’Donnell in the Celine Dion Christmas Special “These Are Special Times” shown on CBS. In addition, he has played back- up to such entertainers as Helen O’Connell, the Temptations and the Four Tops. His saxophone, flute and clarinet artistry can be heard on CD recordings of various artists such as Phillip Keveren, Art Davis, Jan Jordan, Debbi Ebert and Kathy Williams. He also frequently performs at Chapman University on his own faculty recitals and on various large and small ensemble concerts. Gary has presented over 25 world premieres of various composers, including substantial works by the late Fred Katz (1919-2013) who was considered the first jazz cellist (with the Chico Hamilton Quintet) and was responsible for launching the careers of artists such as Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Frankie Lane and others as their arranger/pianist and musical director, along with many film scoring credits, including the original “Little Shop of Horrors”.
A dedicated music educator, Mr. Matsuura has been teaching for over 34 years. Gary has been an adjunct faculty member of the prestigious Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music at Chapman University for twenty two years, where he established the current curriculum for classical and jazz saxophone, jazz improvisation and woodwind pedagogy. He was the founding director of the Chapman University Big Band and Jazz Combo. He is also a frequent adjudicator at scholastic jazz festivals. His present and former students have honored him by winning many prestigious awards and scholarships and by working as professional musicians and music educators in the United States and Japan.
In addition to extensive private studies in late 18th counterpoint in the style of J.S. Bach from the late Allen Davis and private studies in jazz improvisation from jazz legend Phil Woods, Gary Matsuura holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from California State University, Fullerton and the Diploma in Composition and Arranging from the Dick Grove School of Music. Gary Matsuura is a Yamaha Performing Artist.