Mathis Picard is an young pianist from Grenoble, France, who's musical path has already taken him around the globe. Mathis began playing piano at age 4 in Pittsburgh, PA and went on to continue his work as a student, composer, and performer all across Europe. He was recently awarded a recognition in 'excellence in musicianship & leadership' by the Juilliard School, where he just graduated in May and who's activity has been diffused worldwide by renowned arts channel, Arte. Mathis is a winner and member of the Montreux Jazz Foundation and has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Sonny Moore, Jason Moran, Lee Ritenour, Yaron Herman, to name a few and can be seen as a leader or sideman all over NYC. Upcoming performances include an inclusion in Wynton Marsalis' "Young Jazz Stars Of The Future" at Jazz At Marciac, this coming August.
Mathis Jaona Picard was born in Grenoble; France in 1995, but quickly began his life of moving around and moved to Chicago, IL, USA at the age of three. He began his piano studies a year later at the Suzuki Piano Method School in Pittsburgh, PA, at the age of four. A couple of years later Mathis returned to France, in the town of Fontainebleau where he would continue his classical studies at the conservatoire.
Eager to express himself with music in a more personal way, Mathis discovered a summer Jazz program ran by Didier Lockwood, a renowned French Violinist, which encouraged him to switch his studies to Jazz Piano and Drums, eventually leaving the conservatoire and joining the Dammarie-les-Lys Music School (CMDL), at age seven. During this time he formed a musical band with his 4 brothers and sisters, a group that would go on to perform regularly in the towns and villages surrounding Paris. At the age of 10, Mathis’ family would leave France to move to the city of Glasgow, Scotland (UK). During this year Mathis would go on to be the youngest finalist at the Montreux Jazz Piano Solo Competition (Switzerland) and was awarded a special prize for this achievement. At the Glasgow Music Festival that same year he won the 1st Prize in Jazz Piano, 2nd Prize in Classical Piano and also won the Percussion Ensemble prize, with his family band.
Determined to make music his lifetime passion, Mathis left for Manchester, England a year later to study at Chetham’s School of Music, a specialist music boarding school where he would continue his classical and jazz studies. Mathis received sponsorship from Yamaha & Little Dreams Foundations of Phil Collins to attend the school. During his 6 years in England, aside from continuing his regular school work, Mathis worked as a free lance pianist & classical percussionist across the Northwest which led him to perform in some of the UK's most prestigious venues (Savoy Club, The Ritz, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Band On The Wall). Mathis would go on to win the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival ‘Musicianship Award’ & two consecutive ‘Berklee Awards of Excellence in Musicianship' (Perugia, Italy). He would also perform with Manchester's Hallé Orchestra as pianist & celesta player and become finalist of the Nottingham Jazz Piano Competition & Yamaha Piano Competition.
As a composer Mathis would go on to record his solo piano composition 'Sing Like Bird' for Jazzwise UK Magazine 2007 Christmas Album Edition, and have his composition 'Why Don't You See?' included in the NW Jazz Realbook. He was also commissioned by the Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO) to write 'Akire', an orchestral piece for Jazz Trio & Orchestra which was premiered on March 10th, 2011 at the Macclesfield Heritage Center.
At the age of 17, Mathis moved to New York City, USA to begin a bachelors at the Juilliard School for Jazz Performance. Some notable performances with the school include sharing the stage with the likes of Jason Moran, and a performance of the Brubeck Dances with the Juilliard Dance Division and performances at the Blue Note, and Jazz At Lincoln Center. During his sophomore year he was given a Young Arts Winner Award and became semi-finalist in the BBC Young Jazz Musician Competition back in the United Kingdom.
In the summer going into his Junior year at the school, Mathis earned 2nd place at the Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition where he became a member of the Montreux Jazz Foundation. There he performed with Patti Smith, Sonny Emory, Lee Ritenour and performed alongside the Charles Lloyd Quartet. That same year he would go on to release an electronic dance music EP under his alias ‘Jaona’ through the label Clubwerks (Romania) and begin to record as sideman as pianist and keyboardist for artists such as Adison Evans, Braxton Cook and the Rongetz Foundation.
Beginning his shift as a full time professional during his last year at the Juilliard School, Mathis has played at venues such as Smalls Jazz Club, Ginny's Supper Club; Symphony Space, Rockwood Music Hall. He has also played for dinner assemblies of the Mayor of New York and has hosted two late week runs at Dizzy's Coca Cola Jazz Club (JALC) with his own band, where he would premiere his composition 'Iguana Beach'.
Mathis graduated from the Juilliard School in May 2016 with an award in excellence in music and leadership. Upcoming performances include a performance in Wynton Marsalis' 'The Young Stars Of Jazz' in Jazz A Marciac, (France) in August; Caramoor Jazz Festival Solo Piano Performance alongside ELEW and Marc Cary. Mathis can also be seen playing regular shows with Michael Mwenso & The Shakes and in the music scene of New York City.