Listed as one of Fred Hersch’s “pianists you should know”, and described as “an outstanding pianist, stoked full of creative ideas and limitless technique….totally innovative and luminous” by The Australian (national newspaper), Matthew graduated from the Elder Conservatorium in 2008 having been awarded the prize for top Undergraduate for piano, most outstanding honours student, and having being awarded the Adelaide University Medal for excellence in the humanities.
In 2009 he became the first Australian to win a coveted Downbeat Magazine Student Award, and was offered a scholarship to complete a Masters Degree in Music Performance at Boston’s New England Conservatory, studying with 10-time grammy nominated pianist Fred Hersch, and Macarthur Fellow, Jason Moran.
Upon graduating in 2011, Matthew relocated to NYC where has been engaged as composer, bandleader and performer since. In 2014 he was the winner of the APRA/AMCOS Professional Development Award. The same year Matthew was a Freedman Fellowship finalist, performing a set of original music at the Sydney Opera House. Sheens has performed with many musical luminaries including Bob Mintzer, Chris McNulty, Paul Bollenback, Bob Moses, Cecil McBee, Jim Pugh, John Hoffman, Tom Patitucci, Jerry Bergonzi, Jon Gordon and performs regularly with bassist John Patitucci. He has performed across Australia, USA, New Zealand, Japan, The Netherlands, at the Jazz Hoeilaart International Jazz Festival in Belgium, Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Europafest in Romania, Australia’s Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and at the International Panama Jazz festival in Panama City.
In 2012 Sheens released his debut album, ‘Every Eight Seconds’, to wide acclaim and won the 2013 APRA/AMCOS Professional Development Award. Sheens released his second album ‘Untranslatable’ (ABC Music) in 2014, and ‘Cloud Appreciation Day’ (QFTF) September 2016, which won the ‘Jazz Couleurs Hit Award’ in France. His fourth album,’American Counterpoint’ (QFTF) in 2018, was named Australian Jazz work of the year at the APRA Art Music Awards. In 2019 his first Symphony was premiered by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and orchestrated for the Czech National Symphony Orchestra the same year.
THE ADULT CHOIR
The heart of the music program at St. Thomas is the Adult Choir, which presents music in worship every Sunday, September – June, and on major feast and solemn occasions. The choir presents a broad and diverse sacred repertoire, ranging from 17th century motets to the most contemporary praise. Comprised of avocational and professional singers, the choir is distinguished by a singular flexibility in mastering varied styles, as well as an exemplary commitment to the St. Thomas worship schedule. Many of the members have sung together in the ensemble for decades, resulting in a rare unanimity of approach to expressive music making. The Choir of St. Thomas prioritizes SERVICE in praise and prayer, in all of its endeavors. It rehearses weekly, Sunday mornings at 8:45 a.m. and at additional times as circumstances require. New members are always welcome, as we love to share our enthusiasm for music in worship, and are most eager to assist new novice or experienced singers in learning the joys of service through music-making in church.
THE CHILDREN’S CHOIR
The Children’s Choir of St. Thomas, a resurgent group of singers drawn from the parish’s lively Christian Education program, has emerged this season as a vibrant and essential component of our worship experience. The children rehearse Sundays at 11:15 a.m. during Coffee Hour – providing an invaluable training program of the Anglican traditions of music and worship. Parents may appreciate the opportunity to share fellowship after worship while their children are receiving the nurturing which invites them to join as full participants in our worship experience. The children sing at most Second Sundays while the full Sunday School is attending worship with adults. At St. Thomas we strive to provide an opportunity for the entire family to worship together on these regular occasions.