Matthew Bassett Principal

Matthew Bassett became principal timpanist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009.  A native of Northeast Ohio, Mr. Bassett holds degrees in music performance from both The Cleveland Institute of Music (B.M.) and Cleveland State University (M.M.).  Highlights of Matt’s performance career have included serving as principal timpanist for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington, New Zealand; performing as percussion soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Canton Symphony; and participating in the US premiere performance of Four4 by John Cage at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City with the composer in attendance. Previously, Matt served as principal timpanist for the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic and the Mansfield Symphony. Since 1993, he has been principal timpanist and percussionist with Apollo’s Fire (The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra). Matt can be heard on numerous commercial recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, and the Cleveland Orchestra.

In addition to his orchestral work, Mr. Bassett has maintained a busy schedule of solo and chamber  performance. He has presented numerous solo and collaborative recitals focusing on both classics of the percussion/timpani repertoire and premiere performances of new music. His chamber music appearances include the Kent/Blossom Faculty Series, Akron Lyric Opera Theatre, Ars Nova Musicians’ Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Composer’s Guild Concerts, Buffalo Chamber Players, and the Canisius College “Informally Formal” recital series.

In more than 20 years as an educator, Mr. Bassett has taught percussion to students of all ages and ability levels. When he served as percussion director at Shaker Heights High School, his percussion ensemble performed at the 1999 Ohio Music Education Association Annual Convention as a featured group. His primary, secondary, and collegiate ensembles have been featured at percussion festivals and have been heard on live radio. Matt has arranged music for marching percussion, percussion ensemble, and has written several practice manuals for his students. He is currently serving as the acting director of the percussion ensemble at Buffalo State College. Previously, Mr Bassett served on the music faculties at both Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Bassett operates a home business repairing percussion instruments and equipment. He re-wraps timpani mallets for professional and amateur performers, reconditions instruments for school music programs, and prepares calfskin timpani heads for professional performers and orchestras. Matt resides in Buffalo with his daughter and his wife, Kathleen Bassett, a music educator. Professional website: