Position: Director of Jazz & Commercial Music; Associate Professor, Trombone
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 37
Phone: (703) 732-2639
Employed Since: 1991
Conservatory Professional Highlights:
Dr. Matthew Niess is a Washington, D.C.-based cross-over Edwards Trombone and Summit recording artist. He served in The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” for 30 years as lead trombone in the The U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble and with the The U.S. Army Brass Quintet. He is a current member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He began his teaching career in 1986 as director of bands at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick, Maryland, and has since taught at George Mason, Towson and West Chester Universities. In 2021 he became director of jazz studies and professor of trombone at Shenandoah Conservatory.
In 2008 he founded The National Jazz Workshop (NJW), a summer jazz workshop and sponsors The NJW All-Stars, a year-round honor band. To date over 1,000 students have participated in NJW. The All-Stars have performed at The Kennedy Center, the Jazz Education Network, New Orleans, St. Louis, Dallas, Blues Alley and numerous jazz festivals. In 1990 he founded The Capitol Bones, a jazz trombone ensemble, which has received national recognition and was the winner of the 1991 International Trombone Association Kai Winging Award. Their latest 2021 recording, “The Beat Goes On,” is available on the Summit label.
He has been a guest artist at the International Trombone Festival, International Associate of Jazz Educators, Jazz Education Network, International Trombone Association, Eastern Trombone Workshop, Disneyland and Disney World All-American College Bands, The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Music Education National Conference, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, Virginia Music Educators Association, University of Las Vegas, University of Oklahoma, University of North Texas, West Virginia University, James Madison University, University of the Arts, University of Utah, The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Longwood College, The U.S. Air Force “Noteables,” Mary Washington College, Shepherd College, University of Kentucky, University of Texas, George Mason University, University of Wisconsin, Towson University, University of North Carolina, Shenandoah University, Longwood College, West Chester University, University of Tennessee, University of Delaware and others.
He has performed with Franky Valli, Ray Charles, Kurt Elling, Hubert Laws, Clark Terry, Doc Severinsen, Ertha Kitt, Pancho Sanchez, Shirley Jones, Temptations, Diane Schuur, Joan Rivers, Ink Spots, Merv Griffin, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra Jr., Ben Vereen, Four Tops, Manhattan Transfer, Pia Zadora, Bill Watrous, Phil Wilson, Conrad Herwig, Carl Fontana, Don Menza, David Baker, Bobby Caldwell, Rob Parton Jazz Tech Big Band, Gene Krupa Orchestra, Slide Hampton, Chris Potter, John Clayton, Alabama, Randy Travis, Allen Vizutti, Jon Faddis, The New York Voices, Terrell Stafford, Michael Abene, Dave Steinmeyer, Steve Turre, Ken Navaro, Tim Hagens, John Swana, James Moody, Buddy DeFranco, Dr. Billy Taylor, Bob Curnow, Mike Tomaro, Marlena Shaw and many others. Performances abroad include Russia, China, Japan, Cuba, Germany, Norway, Sweden, England, Switzerland, Kuwait, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
With The U.S. Army Band he served as senior producer, producing hundreds of concerts at venues across the nation ranging from parks, schools, The White House and numerous festivals such as the Monterey Jazz Festival. He founded the jazz competitions at the Eastern Trombone Workshop (now the American Trombone Workshop). He has also produced recordings with The U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, West Chester University Criterions Jazz Ensemble, The Capitol Bones and The Capitol Bones Big Band and has appeared on many recordings including the Mark Taylor Big Band, John La Barberamatt niess, Joe McCarthy Afro Bop, Mike Tomaro Big Band, New Gene Krupa Orchestra, Jerry Ascione Big Band, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, Graham Breedlove Sextet, Doug Hamilton, over 100 recordings with The Studio A Big Band and The Washington Winds, Warner Bros. Publications, Alfred, FJH Music, Carl Fischer Music, Belwin Publications, and Hal Leonard Publications. He has also recorded sound tracks for FOX TV, HBO, Discovery and TLC.
Dr. Niess earned a Bachelor of Science in Instrumental Music Education from West Chester University, a Master of Music in Classical Trombone Performance from George Mason University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Classical Trombone Performance from The Catholic University of America.
- Shenandoah Trombone Collective
- Brass Ensemble
- Jazz Ensemble
B.S., West Chester University; M.M., George Mason University; D.M.A., The Catholic University of America
Fields of Expertise:
- Cross-over player
- Brass pedagogy
- Trombone performance
- Trombone ensemble
I was fortunate to have a career performing for a living. Teaching at Shenandoah Conservatory offers me the opportunity to work with students who have that same dream.
I was a member of The United States Army Band for 30 years performing thousands of times all over the world with outstanding musicians and guest artists.
The National Jazz Workshop sets a new standard of excellence for students, educators and performers who are serious about learning and mastering the language of the definitive American art form, Jazz. Held on the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, the National Jazz Workshop offers an intensive, fully comprehensive curriculum for jazz studies to include improvisation, big band and small group performance, composition, arranging, jazz history, Macintosh software technology, recording technology and instrumental masterclasses.