was born in Lappfjard, a village in the Swedish-speaking area on the
west coast of Finland. Under the musical influence of a musical family, he started playing the piano at an early age, but didn't take his first lesson until he was nine. He was soon performing solo and as an accompanist. He left Lappfjard to study at an International Baccalaureate high school. It was here, immersed in this new, multi-lingual environment, that Mathias first realized there was a rich, global culture beyond the borders of his native country.
He studied philosophy and science and began to experiment with different ways of incorporating these new concepts into his playing. While still in high school, he graduated from the Kuula Institute For Classical Studies. At the age of 16, Mathias was invited to perform for the Prime Minister of Finland playing Gershwin's "Three Preludes" and Bill Evans' "Re: Person I Knew." After high school, he completed a year of compulsory military training. He applied to Balliol College at Oxford University and was accepted, but put it off a year when he won a scholarship to study with Joanne Brackeen at the Berklee College of Music. This had a profound effect on Mathias' musical concepts and was crucial to his development as a player and composer.
Returning to Oxford may seem like a step backward from this point. However, Mathias has always been inspired by musicians like Wayne Shorter and composers like Xennakis and Stravinsky who have degrees in subjects outside music. Eventually, Mathias earned a degree in mathematical sciences and received a "University Best Result" in philosophy. Mathias stayed active in Oxford's music scene, and even played for President Clinton at the opening of the Rothemere American Institute at Oxford. Also during this time, he studied with numerous musicians, notably AMM pianist
John Tilbury. It was under Tilbury's tutelage that he came to the music of Morton Feldman, which proved to be another defining moment. While he always had an interest in minimal music, it was Feldman who introduced Mathias to an air of timelessness within a composition that he strives to incorporate into his own pensive style.
From Oxford, Mathias returned to the full-time study of music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland in 2001. Within two years, he earned a Fulbright scholarship that would bring him to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. At USC he has been studying with Alan Pasqua and
Vince Mendoza. Most recently, Mathias was selected to participate in the Mancini Institute for emerging professional musicians, and also won a first place in the
John Coltrane Scholarship Competition 2004.
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Last Modified Date: 04/09/2005