Hiroyuki Matsuura, also known as Matsu, was born into a musical family in Yokohama and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He started playing music in his infancy and then concentrated on the drums and percussion in his high school.
After only four years, he won the first prize of Dennis Chambers Drum Competition held by the Japanese drum magazine in 1995. Dennis Chambers (Santana, Tower of Power, Steely Dan) said, “ I am surprised that he is only 19 years old. We’d been saying that there was no great drummer in Japan, but we’ve finally found one!” While majoring in accounting in Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan, he began working as a professional musician. In 1999 as a member of Tama Band, he won the first prize and the audience award at the Kichijoji Jazz Contest. He also received the second prize of the Japanese drum magazine drum competition in 2000 and his performance of the competition was on the CD of the magazine’s October issue. In Japan, he performed with many professional musicians, such as a major recording artist Tamaki Mori (Polydor Records), Shin Kazuhara (named “the best trumpeter” in the Japanese studio scene) and the Osaka Municipal Symphonic Band which was established in 1923 and now carries the longest history of any professional symphonic wind orchestra in Japan.
In 2002 spring, Mr. Matsuura was a member of the R&B-Jazz-House band, urb, that had been approached for a contract with Sony Music Japan. However, since he longed for the New York City music scene, a community of musicians from all over the world, he decided to leave the band to pursue his musical study and career in NYC. (After he left the band, urb signed a contract with Sony Jazz label and has released three CDs in Japan.)
Mr. Matsuura moved to New York in September 2002. He attended the City College of New York and studied with distinguished professors and musicians, such as John Patitucci, Mike Holober, Neil Clark, Duduka da Fonseca, Adam Cruz, and Ed Simon. The City College gave him the following: the Edward Rensin Memorial Award, The Max E. Greenberg Scholarship, and Doris Field Award. He completed a BFA in jazz performance and was the only BFA music graduate in the class of February 2007 who received the highest honor, Summa Cum Laude. While a student, Mr. Matsuura continued his professional career as a musician and quickly established himself as one of the leading drummers in the US’s jazz, R&B and world music, theater music scene and is now one of the field’s most sought after performers.
Mr. Matsuura has performed and/or recorded with Grammy winning bassist, Hector “Maximo” Rodriguez (Spanish Harlem Orchestra); Grammy winner, Oriente Lopez; multi-platinum producer/musician, Vernon Jeffrey Smith (Whitney Houston, Paula Abdul, Heather Headley, Des’ree, The Family Stand); Grammy nominated R&B/jazz pianist, Marc Cary; legendary jazz pianist, late Harry Whitaker; one of the New York’s finest pianists, Ray Gallon; distinguished composer/arranger, leader and pianist of the Gotham Jazz Orchestra, Mike Holober; jazz trombonist and author, Scott Reeves; the most sought after guitarist of the generation, Adam Stoler (Richard Bona, Keiko Matsui); classically trained R&B singer-songwriter, Yahzarah (Grammy winning Erykah Badu); jazz~gospel singer/Broadway legend, Boncellia Lewis; one of the most active R&B~rock bands in NY, Shelley Nicole’s blaKbushe; the busiest band in NY, Yaz Band; reggae legend, Milton Henry; jazz~reggae guitarist, Justin Rothberg; world music~African reggae singer from Ivory Coast, Sekouba Diakite; unique mix of Latin music and hip hop, Welfare Poets; percussionist of 2005 Latin Grammy nominated Los Pleneros de La 21, Juan Usera; R&B~hip hop star, Akil Dasan (TWith Missy Elliot on UPN); the most promising singer songwriters of the generation, Shaina Taub, Grace McLean, Sophia Bastian…. He has shared the stage with such Grammy winners, hip-hop group the Roots, Corey Glover of Living Color, and legendary jazz bassist Charnett Moffett.
He has also played for musicals and worked with five time Tony-award nominee and winner of three Obie awards, Liz Swados and Tony Award winner, Ben Harney. He is in great demand in the music theater world and works with award winning actors/musicians/creative team.
Mr. Matsuura teamed up with a Hungarian bassist, Norbert Marius, and American guitarist, Ron Jackson, and formed a jazz trio, named Burning Gums. Their debut album, Burning Gum (Roni Music 2011), has received critical acclaim in the jazz world. They are planning to release a new album later this year. Also, he is featured on internationally renowned reggae artist Ruff Scott’s Roots and Culture (Cool Breeze Record 2011); Brooklyn based pop/punk band, Teen Girl Scientist Monthly’s debut EP, Pioneer Ghost (2010); and single, Hear Boys Talk (2011); Drew Citron’s self title album (2010); the Justin Rothberg Trio’s self title album (2009); Vagabondage (2009) by Sammo; Siete Balas (2008) by Venezuelan pop group Urban Sonora. Japanese jazz singer Kaoru Azuma’s 1st album, The Water is Wide. He has recorded for upcoming albums by young amazing singer/songwriter/actor, Grace McLean, by Melissa Lusk’s Boy Girl Pary and many others. He has also recorded the live performance of his original compositions with the best jazz musicians from all over the world: Benedikt Jahnel (Germany), Antonio Miguel (Spain), and Robert Lanzetti (USA). The recording will be released in 2012.
He is scheduled to participate Teen Girl Scientist Monthly’s next full album recording in March and April 2012, and Justin Rothberg group’s next album in spring ~ summer of 2012.
He has appeared on TV and radio shows in the U.S. and Japan, including CBS, NPR/WNYC, J-Wave, and the list goes on. His recorded performance has been aired nationally and internationally.
Performing more than 260 shows a year, he has appeared at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theater, Blue Note New York, Shea Stadium, The Hammerstein Ballroom, Highline Ballroom, Joe’s Pub, SOB’s, Louis Armstrong House, BAM, Le Poisson Rouge, Ashford and Simpson’s Sugar Bar, Knittng Factory, Drom, Soul Cafe, City Winery, Cooper Union, Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park, Aaron Davis Hall, Kumble Theater, Skirball Center, Philadelphia Museum of art, Tritone, World CafÈ Live, Green Space of WNYC/NPR, West Chester Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival), Restoration Rocks, Summer Solstice Celebration in Socrates Sculpture Park and so on.
As a freelance musician, he plays various styles of music with the finest jazz, Latin, rock, R&B, and reggae musicians from all over the world and keeps pushing musical and cultural boundaries.