Matt Flinner

Matt Flinner is an American mandolinist, music transcriber, and ensemble leader. Mike Marshall has called him "one of the truly great young mandolinists of our generation."[1]

Matt Flinner
Born (1969-03-14) March 14, 1969 (age 51)
Pueblo, Colorado
GenresFolk music, bluegrass music, acoustic music, classical music
InstrumentsMandolin, banjo
Years active1990–present
Associated actsThe Matt Flinner Quartet, The Matt Flinner Quartet, the Modern Mandolin Quartet, Todd Phillips, David Grier


Early yearsEdit

Flinner's first musical experiences were in Salt Lake as well. At age 10, his older brother Rex taught him how to play the banjo, and then the mandolin soon after.[2] They formed the original Matt Flinner Trio, and played bluegrass music for tips.[3]

When his father hosted a bluegrass show on KRCL-FM in Salt Lake City, Flinner assisted in music selection.[2]

At age 12, Flinner joined the Peewee Pickers, who play bluegrass festivals and watched heroes perform, including the Osborne Brothers, Ralph Stanley, The Country Gentlemen, J. D. Crowe, and Doyle Lawson.[3]

Flinner won the Walnut Valley National Championship in Winfield, Kansas for bluegrass banjo in 1990[4] and the following year for mandolin.[5]

Flinner earned a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from University of Utah[6] , studying with Morris Rosenzweig and performing with the Utah Symphony.[7]


Flinner joined banjoist Tony Furtado's band Sugarbeat in the early 90s. Sugarbeat also featured lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Demerath (vocals, guitar), and Sally Truitt (bass).[8] Sugarbeat win first place at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1992.[9]

Modern Mandolin QuartetEdit

Flinner moved to Nashville in 1999, and in 2002 he joined the Modern Mandolin Quartet, a chamber group that uses two mandolins, a mandola, and a mandocello to perform classical and contemporary compositions. With Flinner, they released a re-recorded version of The Nutcracker Suite. Along with Flinner, members include Dana Rath, Paul Binkley, and Adam Roszkiewicz.[10]

In 2013, their album Americana was nominated for three Grammy awards: Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, Best Engineered Album, and Classical Producer Of The Year.[1][11]

Matt Flinner TrioEdit

Flinner formed The Matt Flinner Trio in 2006. Besides Flinner, the trio includes Ross Martin (guitar) and Eric Thorin (bass). For their Music du Jour shows, each member of the trio will compose a new song on the night before the performance and perform each new song at the show.[2]

In 2009, their first album Music du Jour included what they considered to be the best songs composed for the Music du Jour shows.[8]

The trio's 2016 album Traveling Roots features 12 more songs from the Music du Jour tours: four from each trio member.[12]

Phillips, Grier & FlinnerEdit

Todd Phillips, David Grier, and Matt Flinner perform, record, and tour as a trio. Their first album Phillips, Grier & Flinner was released in 2008.[13]

On their follow-up Looking Back, the trio cover songs such as Bill Monroe's "Tennessee Blues" and "Monroe's Hornpipe," Mongo Santamaría's "Afro Blue," and McCoy Tyner's "Search for Peace."[14]


Released in 1999, The View From Here was produced by Todd Phillips (bass) and featured David Grier (guitar), Jerry Douglas (resonator guitar), and fiddlers Stuart Duncan, Darol Anger, and Tim O'Brien.[15]

Latitude in 2001 again included the assistance of Anger, Duncan on fiddle, Douglas, Grier, Phillips.[16]

Matt Flinner QuartetEdit

Flinner plays lead mandolin in his electric rock-influenced band The Matt Flinner Quartet, influenced by Miles Davis and John Scofield. The quartet includes Gawain Mathews (guitar), Sam Bevan (bass), and Aaron Johnston (drums).[2]

Other projectsEdit

Flinner was a featured soloist with Trey Anastasio during the Nashville Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Don Hart's "Concertino for Strings, Two Mandolins and Guitar" with guitarist Roger Hudson and mandolinist Carlo Aonzo.[17][18]

When the band Leftover Salmon lost founding member Mark Vann to cancer in 2002, Flinner played banjo as a substitute until the band was able to reorganize.[19]

Flinner was featured on Steve Martin's album The Crow, which won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.[20]

Flinner also occasionally performs and tours with Darrell Scott, Frank Vignola, David Grier, Alison Brown, Missy Raines, the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, and the Ying Quartet.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Flinner lives with his wife Wendy in Nashville and teaches mandolin on a limited basis.


Solo albumsEdit

Matt Flinner TrioEdit

  • 2009: Music du Jour (Compass)[8]
  • 2012: Winter Harvest (Compass)[10]
  • 2016: Traveling Roots (Compass)[24]

Matt Flinner QuartetEdit

2003: Walking On the Moon (Compass)

Todd Phillips, David Grier, and Matt FlinnerEdit

  • 1999: Todd Phillips, David Grier & Matt Flinner (Compass)[25]
  • 2002: Looking Back (Compass)[26]

Modern Mandolin QuartetEdit

  • 2010: The Nutcracker Suite and other arrangements from Delibes, Faure, Llobet & Vivaldi (Sono Luminus)
  • 2012: Americana (Sono Luminus)


  • 1993: Sugarbeat (Planet Bluegrass)

Peewee PickersEdit

  • 1982: Getting Goin' (self-released)

Also appears onEdit

  • 1994: Douglas Spotted Eagle - Common Ground (Natural Visions)
  • 1994: Tim O'Brien - Away Out on the Mountain (Sugar Hill) with Mollie O'Brien
  • 1995: Kate MacLeod - Trying to Get It Right (Waterbug)
  • 1995: Salamander Crossing - Salamander Crossing (Signature Sounds)
  • 1996: Judith Edelman - Perfect World (Compass)
  • 1997: Nancy Hanson - Drops in a Bucket (Small Box)
  • 1997: Ben Winship - One Shoe Left (Snake River)
  • 1997: Kate MacLeod - Constant Emotion (Waterbug)
  • 1997: Chris Proctor - Only Now (Flying Fish)
  • 1998: Judith Edelman - Only Sun (Compass)
  • 1999: Anke Summerhill - The Roots Run Deep (Independent Songwriters)
  • 2000: Alison Brown - Fair Weather (Compass)
  • 2000: Judith Edelman - Drama Queen (Compass)
  • 2001: Brenn Hill - Call You Cowboy (Real West)
  • 2001: Jake Schepps - An Evening in the Village: The Music of Béla Bartók (Fine Mighty)
  • 2003: Natalie MacMaster - Blueprint (Rounder)
  • 2004: Noam Pikelny - In the Maze (Compass)
  • 2004: K. C. Groves - '"Something Familiar (Skylark Sounds)
  • 2004: Brenn Hill - Endangered (Real West)
  • 2005: Drew Emmitt - Across the Bridge (Compass)
  • 2005: Armando Zuppa - Zupperman (Very Independent)
  • 2007: Tim Carter - Bang Bang (Tree O Music)
  • 2009: John Cowan - Comfort and Joy (eOne)
  • 2009: Steve Martin - The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo (Rounder)
  • 2009: Missy Raines - Inside Out (Compass)
  • 2009: The Vignola Collective Gypsy Grass (Dance Research)
  • 2011: various artists - Pa's Fiddle: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler (Thirty Tigers)
  • 2013: Craig Duncan - Blue Suede Bluegrass (Green Hill)
  • 2014: David Benedict - Into the True Country (self-released)

Music PublicationsEdit

1999: In The Pines: 13 Classic Old-Time Instrumentals (Mel Bay) ISBN 9780786641161


  1. ^ a b Mike Marshall (February 3, 2013). "Modern Mandolin Quartet Grammy Interview". Mandolin Cafe. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Chris Mateer (January 29, 2012). "Mandolinist Extraordinaire Matt Flinner Generously Shares "Winter Harvest"". Uprooted Music Revue. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "10 Questions For Matt Flinner". Mandolin Cafe. February 16, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "National Bluegrass Banjo Championship". Walnut Valley Festival. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  5. ^ David McCarty (April 19, 2016). "Matt Flinner Trio: "Traveling Roots"". Peghead Nation. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Phillips, Michael (June 25, 1991). "Postmodern Plucker Takes Banjo Back to its Roots in Jazz". Deseret News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  7. ^ "Bios: Matt Flinner". Modern Mandolin Quartet. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Matt Flinner Trio: New Album". JamBase. May 6, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Bonham, Nicole A. (February 21, 1994). "Sugarbeat Reels In Audience with Songs about Fish, Future". Deseret News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Amacher, Julie (November 20, 2012). "New Classical Tracks: Modern Mandolin Quartet - Americana". Classical MPR. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Liberatore, Paul (February 8, 2013). "Lib at Large: Grammy spotlight shines on the Modern Mandolin Quartet". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Keith Harris, Aaron (June 1, 2016). "Traveling Roots by the Matt Flinner Trio". The Lonesome Road Review. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Larry Stephens. "Phillips, Grier & Flinner: Phillips, Grier & Flinner". Country Standard Time. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  14. ^ George Graham (July 10, 2002). "Phillips, Grier & Flinner: Looking Back". The Graham Weekly Album Review. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  15. ^ Henry Koretzky. "The View from Here: Matt Flinner". Acoustic Music. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  16. ^ Jennifer Hanson (May 17, 2003). "Matt Flinner, Latitude". Rambles. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Bernstein, Scott (September 28, 2008). "Trey Takes Nashville: Part Two – Divided Sky, Let Me Lie, Time Turns Elastic Videos". Glide Magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  18. ^ Pitcher, John (October 17, 2006). "Nashville Chamber Orchestra". Nashville Scene. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  19. ^ "Leftover Salmon On Mountain Stage". NPR Music. October 5, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  20. ^ David McGee (April 1, 2011). "Steve Martin Reflects on Life with Banjo In Hand, The Journey To The Crow and Rare Bird Alert and The Music's Call". The Bluegrass Special. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  21. ^ Lincoln, Marga (April 8, 2010). "Joining forces". Independent Record. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  22. ^ Weisberger, Jon (February 28, 1998). "Matt Flinner - The View From Here". No Depression. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  23. ^ George Graham (February 28, 2001). "Matt Flinner: Latitude". The Graham Weekly Album Review. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Horowitz, Hal (January 22, 2016). "Matt Flinner Trio: Traveling Roots". American Songwriter. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  25. ^ Ferguson, Jim (March 1, 2000). "Todd Phillips, David Grier, Matt Flinner: Phillips, Grier and Flinner". JazzTimes. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  26. ^ John Lupton. "Phillips, Grier & Flinner: Looking Back". Country Standard Time. Retrieved August 6, 2017.

External linksEdit