Matt Harrison grew up in Orange, Connecticut, and graduated from Amity Regional Senior High School (Woodbridge, CT) before attending James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) for his undergraduate degree in piano and music education. He then went on to earn his M.M. from The New England Conservatory (Boston, MA) in voice performance. Matt has been a member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 2007, when he began his professional career as a music director, song writer, and producer for Cornerstone Productions.
After earning his masters degree, Matt returned to Virginia to begin his teaching career in a large, urban high school in Manassas. He immediately engaged with the Virginia Music Educators Association and Virginia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. He was awarded the best first year teacher for Manassas City Public Schools after extensive groundwork had been laid for a significant rebuilding effort. In three short years, the size of the program doubled. Matt was recognized within VMEA as a future leader, and was asked to sit on the Leadership Symposium.
Leaving his sizable program (200 voices) in Virginia, Matt returned home to begin teaching at Hamden Hall Country Day School. Five years ago, he began with only 13 singers. Now, award-winning Hamden Hall choir program boasts 50 singers: 32 of them earned a spot in Southern Regional Choirs, 14 of them earned a spot in Connecticut All-State Choirs, and one earned a spot in All-National Choir (festival held in Orlando, FL this coming November). Last year, the new Connecticut All-State Treble Choir premiered his arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner. A fierce advocate for the underserved students in our state, Matt continues to champion equitable opportunities within his professional organizations.
Matt was granted a residency at Glacier National Park composing choral music (the first of its kind in NPS history!) in June 2018. His Glacier Suite (for accompanied SSA) is published by Pavane. This publication marks the first choral piece in print that was written in and for one of our national parks. The Rhode Island Junior High School All-State Choir premiered his unpublished work from Glacier, “Will You Go” in 2019. Matt served as membership chair for the Connecticut Music Educators Association for three years, and helped revolutionize standardized adjudication within CMEA honor choir auditions, working closely with the Student Affairs Commission. These positions give him the insight to to advise the ACDA Executive Board via the Liaison Committee. Matt was just elected President-Elect of the Connecticut American Choral Directors Association. He is the recipient of the 2018 CT ACDA Choir Director of the Year.
For the past three summers, Matt directed and music directed the Madison Beach Club Follies. This historic musical review has run for 85 years!