Described as "Michigan's leading boogie-woogie man" by The Farmington Patch, Matthew Ball is a graduate of Oakland University and The University of Detroit School of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in both Music and History, as well as a Juris Doctorate in Law. He trained classically at University with the internationally renowned classical pianist Flavio Varani, a graduate of The Paris Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music, who traced his own pedigree of study back to Chopin himself!
Matthew's first public performances included a back to back appearance with the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony in '92 and '93 as winner of their annual young artist competition, followed by a distinguished '94 appearance as OU's representative artist in a concert tour hosted by The Steinway Society, as well as a chamber performance abroad at The International Chamber Music Academy in Germany. He is a winner of the 'outstanding student in piano performance 'Matilda' award,' a Stanley Hollingsworth Scholarship recipient, and an alumnus of the Interlochen summer piano programs.
Licensed as an attorney of Michigan in '98, Matthew practiced law only a short time when in the fall of '01 he attended a Motor City Boogie Woogie Festival that would re-shape his life. Awestruck by the performances he saw that evening and discouraged with law, Matthew left his career as an attorney to become a blues and boogie-woogie performing artist. To get there, Matthew would seek out the help of an 80-something Detroit fixture and boogie-woogie hall of famer named Bob Seeley. A living link to the genre's pioneer artists, Seeley initially refused to teach Matthew. But after a year of prodding and with the recommendation of a long-time Seeley colleague-in-boogie named Michael Przybylski, Seeley eventually accepted Matthew as a pupil.
By '05 a watershed occurred when Matthew was welcomed to perform at the 11th annual Cincinnati Blues Festival, where he headlined alongside some of the same performers he had first been inspired by. Since then, Matthew has maintained an active performing career as 'The Boogie Woogie Kid,' with notable appearances throughout the mid-west and Canada including The Sky Hempy Keyboard Performance Series, The Jazz'n on Jefferson Festival, The Woodward Dream Cruise, Border Books & Music Showcase, and The Milliken Auditorium of Northwestern University. He has performed three televised concerts for Oak Park Public Television and Clawson TV, has been featured on NPR's 'All Things Considered' and 'Morning Edition', FOX 2 News' Music Spotlight, WDET's 'The Craig Fahle Show', WMUK's 'Arts & More,' WDRQ Detroit Underground, and WFYI The Blues House Party. In addition, he has presented educational clinics to the area's leading piano pedagogy institutions including The Oakland Piano Teachers Forum, The Metropolitan Detroit Musician's League, and The Adult Learning Center of Oakland Community College.
Matthew's published works to date include three self-produced CD's titled Classic Boogie-Woogie (2005), Boogie Woogie Kid (2008), and Rainmaker (2011) as well as two books on the subject called The Art of Boogie-Woogie (2007), and Blues Preludes (2008). The first book is a scored compendium of 41 boogie-woogie base-lines, and the latter a collection of seven blues inspired piano vignettes designed for the early learner.
Also, Matthew has maintained a private studio for piano instruction since '94, and today even teaches online. Some of his proudest accomplishments have been through the role he has played in helping at least two of his students receive university music scholarships to study music formally at a university of their choice. Recently, he was pleased to learn of a former pupil being named as a 2010 winner of The Pontiac-Oakland Symphony Young Artist Competition. Additionally in 2012, Matthew had a Colorado boogie-woogie pupil win 1st place in a regional "Stars of Tomorrow" contest awarding him with both a financial award and a spot on local radio and television.
Finally, and in addition to his music endeavors, Matthew is a published poet and children's book author. His published works include selections in Episodes of the Norm (2008) which contains his poem 'Boogie-Woogie Man' written as a dedication to Bob Seeley on the occasion of his 80th birthday, Minnie & Melvira, (2009) a children's story about discovering true friendship that features his father Larry as illustrator, and lastly a collaboration with his brother Joshua called The Worm & The Caterpillar (2009), which contains a message about transformation through self-belief.
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