Mat Muntz is a composer, bassist, and experimental bagpiper. Whether working as a composer and bandleader on projects like The Vex Collection and his own sextet Phantom Islands, as a longtime collaborator with vocalist Astrid Kuljanic, or as an in-demand sideman in New York's jazz and experimental music scenes, Mat brings his improvisational sensitivity and fiercely independent sound to every performance.

Mat graduated from Manhattan School of Music in 2016 and has performed across North America, Europe, and China at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Jazz Standard, Blue Note Beijing, and the Umbria Jazz Festival. His compositions have been premiered at The Shed, Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, and the Moers Festival in Germany. In addition, Mat has been the recipient of awards from Brooklyn Arts Council and the New York Foundation for The Arts.

Embracing a polystylistic approach inspired by Charles Mingus, Alfred Schnittke, and Ornette Coleman, Mat’s work seeks to bring together a wide range of musical influences: the great experimental lineage of jazz and Black American Music, the maximalist mysticism of late J.S. Bach, and a microtonal sensibility that draws as much on the 20th-Century experiments of Ivan Wyschnegradsky and Harry Partch as it does on obscure folk traditions from Croatia and Central Asia. When joined in a performance practice centered on collaborative improvisation, the result is an aesthetic of dynamism, volatility, disruption, and collective expression.

A core aspect of this musical language is the incorporation of traditional instruments such as the Croatian bagpipe primorski meh and its Bulgarian counterpart djura gaida, on which Mat performs. In his work with The Vex Collection (co-led by composer/percussionist Vicente Hansen Atria and featuring Matthew Welch and gamin), Mat has composed for the Scottish highland bagpipe and the traditional Korean woodwinds piri and taepyeongso, as well as several newly-designed experimental wind instruments. The integration of traditional instruments within a contemporary sound-world and the futuristic extension of their capabilities through modification, extended technique, and unorthodox combinations comprise a major focus of Mat’s present and future work.

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