Quartet San Francisco

Matthew Szemela – violin

Praised by the New York Times for his “outrageous fiddling,” Mannes College graduate Matthew Szemela crosses musical styles with ease.  Originally from Maine, Matthew has performed as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in New York’s Carnegie, Alice Tully, and Merkin Recital Halls and abroad in Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, and Australia.  Matthew has toured and recorded with singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia, recorded with Sufjan Stevens, and in 2006 served as concertmaster of the Hustla Symphony Orchestra for Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt 10th Anniversary Concert” at Radio City Music Hall in New York.  Matthew has collaborated with tap dancer, actor, and choreographer Savion Glover on his production “Classical Savion,” and he has appeared with artists Sting, Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Lana Del Rey, and Cassandra Wilson as well as the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, guitarist Vernon Reid of “Living Colour,” Susan Sarandon, Beyoncé Knowles, and Olivia Newton John.

Matthew’s credits in violin jazz include performances and recordings with Dan Levinson and his Canary College Dance Orchestra, Barbara Rosene and her New Yorkers, and performances with The Manhattan Ragtime Orchestra, Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, and Gregory Moore and the Cosmopolitan Orchestra.  He was a long-time member of the Mahavishnu Project, the repertory ensemble for the music of John McLaughlin and his contemporaries.  With pianist Eric Lewis, Matthew has performed at the American Jazz Festival in Paris, the Traumzeit Festival in Duisburg, the Montreux Festival in Switzerland, and the Ischia Global Film and Music Festival in Italy.  And in 2007 Matthew portrayed an Irish rock violinist in the Warner Brothers film “August Rush.”

Matthew left New York for Berkeley, California in the summer of 2011 where he performs with the Berkeley Symphony.  He began his collaboration with Quartet San Francisco in the summer of 2012.