Matt Skelton

Key details:

Jazz | Wind, Brass & Percussion
Professor of Jazz Drums; Guildhall Big Band


Matt Skelton is a drummer equally at home in modern and vintage Jazz styles enjoying a diverse musical career that has already spanned three decades.

He has accompanied many leading Jazz luminaries such as Harry ''Sweets'' Edison, Conte Candoli, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Warren Vache, Scott Hamilton, John Hendricks, Kurt Elling, Curtis Stigers, Gregory Porter, and most recently Georgie Fame.

He has recorded and appeared with singers such as Marion Montgomery, Dame Cleo Laine, Claire Martin and Dame Jessye Norman.

In 2015 he toured in the USA and recorded with Seth Macfarlane.

He was Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's drummer of choice and for eight years toured and recorded as a member of Stacey Kent’s group, including her Grammy-nominated 2007 release Breakfast On The Morning Tram on BlueNote.

Matt Skelton is a founder member of the Grammy nominated John Wilson Orchestra. He regularly appears with the BBC Big Band and often with the BBC Concert, BBC Philharmonic and BBC Symphony orchestras including the Last Night of the Proms 2017. Traveling as John Wilson's drummer he has most recently performed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2018 Matt toured internationally with Sir Simon Rattle with the London Symphony Orchestra for various Leonard Bernstein centenary concerts including performances of Bernstein's 2nd Symphony, The Age Of Anxiety and a concert version of Wonderful Town.

2019 highlights included appearing at the Edinburgh Festival with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a concert version of West Side Story for Sir John Eliot Gardiner OBE; recording for Alan Barnes’s 60th birthday project +11 and subsequent album launch concerts including many UK Jazz festivals; many appearances at Ronnie Scott's including James Pearson’s Portrait of Bill Evans and Joe Stilgoe's 80's big band project.

West End musical theatre credits include the 2015 Savoy revival of Gypsy and the Broadway transfer of An American In Paris at the Dominion theatre 2017. Recent film soundtrack includes Motherless Brooklyn, Catch 22, Four Kids And It and Blythe Spirit.

Matt is the drummer for Callum Au's recently released and critically acclaimed orchestral album, Songs and Stories featuring Claire Martin.

This year Matt was looking forward playing for the Adelphi revival of Hello Dolly staring Imelda Staunton. This production now been postponed until 2022. 

Since 2015 Matt teaches at both Guildhall School of Music & Drama and for the London College Of Music, University Of West London.

At Guildhall, Matt teaches on both the Jazz, and Wind, Brass And Percussion courses. This forthcoming academic year Matt is directing the Guildhall Big Band and has devised a five concert series spanning the history of Big Band jazz. 

For the Wind, Brass and Percussion department, Matt has been devising a project intended to bring the study of drum kit more closely aligned to that of multi-percussion. This has involved working closely with the composer Mark Anthony Turnage and celebrated drummer Peter Erskine in preparing material and special events scheduled for the forthcoming academic year. 

During lockdown, Matt hosted many Zoom masterclasses for the Guildhall including a masterclass with Jeff Hamilton, live from his home in California.

Matt is especially proud of his close mentoring of young jazz drummers who have recently made such an impact on the UK Jazz scene. Ed Richardson, Luke Tomlinson, Max Mills and Jerome Johnson are all Matt Skelton alumni who continued their studies with Matt beyond their conservatoire training.