Born in Brazil, Andrei Matorin’s early years were spent in Rio de Janeiro being raised by his single mother, Yanai Matorin, who nurtured his artistic and musical inclinations. Fewer cities could be said to have a more dynamic and embracing artistic and musical culture. Rio de Janeiro is the filled with Carnival, Samba and Bossa Nova, Capoeira and Drumlines… This fervent artistic atmosphere would become engrained in the veins of this budding artist even though he would only spend the first few years of his life there. Although Brazil is known for its afro-influenced music and spirit it was after being inspired by an orchestra concert his mother took him to at the age of three that he asked her to play the violin. He was inexplicably drawn to this mysterious instrument he had never seen or heard before. Though she did not have the means or access to provide lessons at the time she never forgot that day. After having moved to the United States in search for a better life with his mother, Andrei began studying the violin in Boston through a family friend and never looked back.
It was then that his mother’s meeting and marrying an Italian scientist, Marco Muda, led Andrei to move with his new family to Italy and Switzerland where he kept up with his now intensive studies of music, solfege and theory. Though he showed great promise and natural talent he always felt disconnected from the music he worked on so hard. His training in classical music was missing the rhythms and spirit he had been surrounded by as a child, and he grew frustrated with his musical direction without any outlets or settings to explore his artistic roots.
Back in Boston, Yanai had happened to become friends with Rakalam Bob Moses, a legendary jazz drummer and percussionist. Andrei attended the same school as Moses’s son, Rafael, and they became best friends. Meanwhile Moses’s love and curiosity for Brazilian music and culture led him to take Portuguese lessons with Yanai. It was hearing Bob Moses perform in a Swiss jazz festival, Andrei’s first exposure to live jazz, that inspired Andrei to dream of new settings for his music. In jazz he found a perfect combination of the classical theory and discipline that he had been cultivating for years with the syncopations and grooves of African music. But it wasn’t until moving back to the United States a year later that he was able to pursue his newfound interest.
By the time he was in High School, Andrei Matorin was back living in the United States. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, he began studying jazz with a former member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, virtuoso saxophonist and improviser Vincent York. He blindly dove into this new musical world, immersing himself with the records of the likes of John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Sonny Rollins and surrounding himself with like-minded aspiring musicians. He soon realized that jazz had already completely embraced the music of his native country of Brazil, so he found himself quite at home in this new environment. Later, after moving back to Boston, he re-connected with Bob Moses, whom he would eventually record with, and began studying jazz at the New England Conservatory. Andrei was the first violinist ever to graduate from its 4 year preparatory program and did so half the time. Upon graduating he was the sole recipient of the Jazz Department Award. That same year he decided to pursue his studies at Berklee College of Music after being offered a scholarship.
Attending Berklee permitted Andrei to fully explore all his musical influences. Walking down its halls one could hear everything from Jazz to Classical, Soul, Country, Pop, Rock just to name a few. There he learned from some of the most influential musician and educators and was given a wide range of opportunities. His first performance at the Lincoln Center, for example, was actually with Berklee’s Jazz Hip Hop Orchestra having the pleasure of sharing the stage with young musicians who would go on to make their own marks on the contemporary music. By the time he graduated Berklee “Summa Cum Laude” with both Performance and Jazz Composition degrees he had recorded an album as a leader, another as a sideman with Bob Moses, been awarded the String Department Achievement Award on two separate occasions, and been given the rare privilege of leading his own senior recital as a composer and performer at the Berklee Performance Center. He had also been accepted into the prestigious and exclusive Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, a two-week program that identifies and fosters the next generation of leaders in jazz. It was on the heels of these academic and professional successes that he decided to move to New York City.
Andrei quickly became a highly sought after violinist and bandleader in New York. He’s performed at Festivals and such world renowned institutions as The Lincoln Center, The Blue Note, and The MoMA with giants of today’s music like Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Rosa Passos, Christian Scott and Tiger Okoshi, and Bob Moses.
Currently he is performing with and composing for his duo with Grammy Award winning Argentinian composer and pianist Fernando Otero. This exciting project features the original music of its two virtuosic members and arrangements of music from North and South America. Of course, it manages to fuse together all the musical influences – classical, brazilian, jazz, and more – that Andrei has come to love so much. Look out for their debut album coming soon.