Matthew Rinker (Matt) was born in Washington D.C. in 1966. He has lived in the D.C. metropolitan area for most of his life.
His early training as a performer was on DC’s alternative rock circuit as a guitarist and founding member of the band Graffiti. As Graffiti was making a name for themselves as a powerful and creative presence on the regional rock scene, Matt joined the progressive Jazz group Stickman where he contributed his own high energy approach to improvisation and unique compositional style to the band’s repertoire.
During his time with these two wonderful ensembles Matt had the opportunity to perform in many prestigious venues including Blues Alley, The Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, The Bayou, The Roxy, The Pittsburgh Jazz Festival and the 219 Basin Street Lounge to name a few.
While regularly performing with the two bands Matt discovered a love of teaching and helping others to discover the power of music in their own lives. Matt earned a Bachelors of Music Education degree in 1993 from Howard University. While attending Howard Matt began formally developing a third avenue of his musical creativity with the study of composition with Dr. Thomas Korth. In 2005, Matt earned a Masters of music composition degree from George Mason University where he studied composition with Dr. Glenn Smith and around the same time began studying guitar again with Larry Snitzler.
As an educator, Matt has been a music teacher in the Arlington County Public School system since 1994. During this time he has taught elementary, middle and high school students in various aspects of music. He began his public school career teaching general music and instrumental music in an elementary school. He then transitioned to the job of middle school band director where he stayed for around 18 years. In 2013 Matt left the middle school and began teaching guitar and music theory at the high school level. He has since taught guitar I, guitar ensemble, song writing, digital audio, music theory and AP music theory in three high schools in Arlington.
In 2011 Matt accepted a position as the conductor and music director for a community plucked string orchestra the Mandoleers. This group has also performed many of his compositions. You can find out more about this terrific volunteer ensemble at their website mandoleers.org
Matt has lived in Arlington with his wife since 1995 and they have two grown children who are themselves products of Arlington county schools.
Recently Matt has been performing with his trio, Barton Street Three (BS3) and honing his skills as an accompanist playing with two duo projects (Entre Nous w/Jeanette Preniczky and Azil Rain w/ Liza Albright) and has been working with two dear friends on a musical theater piece. Stay tuned for updates regarding those projects.