Matthew Goodheart is a composer, improviser, sound artist, and educator. Following an early career as a free-jazz pianist in the fertile San Francisco Bay Area, he has developed a wide body of work that explores the relationships between performer, instrument, and listener. His diverse creations range from large-scale microtonal compositions to open improvisations to immersive sound installations – all unified by the analytic techniques and performative methodologies he has developed to bring forth the unique and subtle acoustic properties of individual musical instruments. Goodheart’s approach results in a “generative foundation” for exploring issues of sound in relation to physicality, perception, technology, and cultural ritual.
His work has been featured throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in such diverse festivals as Estate Fiorentine, Neue Musik Köln, MaerzMusik, New York Electroacoustic Music Festival, The International Spectral Music Festival, June in Buffalo, Klappsthulfest, Jazz Ao Centro, The Illuminations New Music & Arts Festival, and many others. As performer and collaborator, he has work and recorded with such luminaries as Wadada Leo Smith, Glenn Spearman, Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros, Gianni Gebbia, Vladimir Tarasov, Jack Wright, and Cecil Taylor. His numerous awards and honors including the Berlin Prize in Music Composition, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, and a Fulbright Grant to the Czech Republic where he worked with the historic quartertone pianos designed by Alois Hába.
His current work focuses on “reembodied sound,” a technique in which small transducers are attached to resonant objects, such as gongs and cymbals, causing them to sound autonomously. In addition to numerous compositions, structured improvisations, and sound installations, he has worked toward bringing larger attention to this expanding practice by organizing the “Reembodied Sound: a symposium on transducer based music and sonic art” at Columbia University, and as director of the New York Transduction Festival. A life-long teacher, he is a Lecturer in the Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic University.