Matthew D. Dufresne is the Chairperson of the Music Department at Holly Academy, where he also serves as General Music teacher, director of bands, and leader of the Academy Art Ensemble. Since he joined Holly Academy in 2005, he has grown the instrumental music department from 7 to 130 students and launched the Academy Art Ensemble (a fifty piece improvisatory-based ensemble that does not discriminate based on instrument voice or medium).
Dufresne is active as a woodwind specialist performing Jazz, Rock, and World Music in a variety of ensembles around Southeastern Michigan.
Dufresne has performed multiple times at the Detroit Jazz Festival as a soloist with Regina Carter and the Oakland University Big Band and the UM-Flint Steelheads. Matt has twice performed with Andy Narrell, once on saxophone and most recently on lead pan with Narrell in April 2014. He has twice been featured with the Beni Schlatter Quartet at the Flint Jazz Festival (2010 and 2015). In April 2015 Dufresne performed with The Unique Jazz Ensemble featuring Sangeetha Rathnakara Sudha Raghunathan,
U. Rajesh, Mark Stone, Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan and Haruna Walusimbi at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival. Matt performed for a second time in March 2016 at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival in A Jazz-Carnatic Collaboration, featuring Padma Shri awardee Aruna Sairam (Vocal), Prof. Mark Stone (Gyil, Mbira, and World Percussion) and Maya Azucena (vocal). In February of 2016, Matt performed on a reunion tour with Cleveland’s Craw, a math rock band from the post-hardcore movement of the 1990’s.
Dufresne’s performing career includes time spent in Cleveland as a freelance musician performing with such groups as Craw, Robert Ocasio’s Latin Jazz Project, the Salsa-Merengue band Cowakhan, the Funk band Mad Beats, Impacto Nuevo, and other Latin and Jazz ensembles.
Dufresne has studied jazz saxophone and piano with a variety of national jazz masters in the last few years, including Eric Alexander, Jim Snidero, Dan Haerle, David Baker, and Pat Harbison. Detroit jazz musicians Miles Brown, Scott Gwinnell, and Walter White have played an integral part in his development over the last five years. Dufresne has studied saxophone with Donald Sinta and improvisation with Ed Sarath at the University of Michigan.
Dufresne’s awards include the 2013 MaTilDa from Oakland University for Jazz and the University of Michigan-Flint’s highest distinction as recipient of the 2005 Maize and Blue Award for Distinguished Scholarship.
Dufresne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan-Flint and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Oakland University.
Photographer: Remi Thornton