University of Pittsburgh
June 11, 2002

Student Jazz Guitarist from Erie Wins 2002 Pitt-Mellon Jazz Scholarship


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

June 5, 2002

PITTSBURGH Matthew Hudson, a jazz guitarist from Erie, Pa., who will be a senior this fall in the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Music, is the winner of the 2002 University of Pittsburgh-Mellon Jazz Scholarship.

Hudson, 21, a guitarist in the Pitt Jazz Ensemble, will accept the honor on Thursday, June 13, prior to the free noon outdoor concert by the Pittsburgh Jazz Society Big Band at One Mellon Plaza, the corner of Fifth Avenue and Grant Street, downtown. The event kicks off the 2002 Mellon Jazz Festival.

This is the 16th year Pitt and Mellon Financial Corporation have joined to fund the $5,000 scholarship, given to a current or incoming Pitt jazz student who shows the most promise. A panel of international jazz musicians James Moody, David Baker, and Rufus Reid judged Hudson's winning audition tape.

Hudson first picked up a guitar at age 12, buying one from his older cousin for $30. "Someone finally got tired of all the noise and told me it was time to take some lessons," Hudson remarked. Jazz guitarist Frank Singer began coaching Hudson on the blues-based rock songs he wanted to learn and eventually added more complex jazz training.

Hudson played and performed throughout high school and began his studies at Pitt as a freshman majoring in psychology. "But after I got involved with the music department and got to know and study under Nathan Davis and Joe Negri, I decided to switch my major to music," he said.

In addition to performing with the Jazz Ensemble, Hudson teaches guitar to dozens of students ranging in age from eight to 60. He performs with Melonious Blue, a fusion band, and is a regular at weekly jam sessions in Pittsburgh's jazz clubs. His future plans include more work with Melonious Blue and more practice, as he searches for what he calls "my niche in the music business." "This is an awesome honor," said Hudson of the scholarship award. "I feel like I've been working hard, and it's starting to pay off."