Peter Matz distinguished himself as one of the foremost musical director/arranger/composers in every medium of the entertainment industry. He was honored with three Emmy Awards for My Name Is Barbra, The Sounds of Burt Bacharach and The Carol Burnett Show and received a Grammy Award for the Barbra Streisand album, People. He was nominated for two Tony Awards, a Clio Award, and an Academy Award. His original scores for countless feature films and television movies earned him additional awards, nominations and critical acclaim. As a musical director, he arranged and conducted for such legendary superstars as Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich, Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Bing Crosby, Liza Minnelli, Diahann Carroll, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Dionne Warwick and Sam Ramey to name a few.
Following graduation from UCLA and two years of intensive musical studies in France, Matz began his career on Broadway creating orchestrations, vocal arrangements and dance music for Harold Arlen's House of Flowers, starring Diahann Carroll, and Jamaica, starring Lena Horne. After serving as arranger/accompanist for Noel Coward's celebrated engagement in Las Vegas, he returned to Broadway to arrange and conduct Coward's Sail Away and Richard Rodgers' No Strings and to provide orchestrations for Jule Styne's Hallelujah, Baby! Working simultaneously in television, Matz composed the themes and served as musical director for such popular hits as The Jimmy Dean Show, the Kraft Music Hall, and Hullabaloo. Diversifying into feature films, he also composed original scores for Sidney Lumet's Bye Bye Braverman, and Marlowe, starring James Garner. During this period, he met Barbra Streisand and ultimately arranged and conducted most of the material on her first five albums for Columbia (including his own composition "Gotta Move"}, as well as two Emmy Award-winning television specials, My Name Is Barbra and Color Me Barbra. Theirs proved to be a long and prolific working relationship which would later include his Oscar-nominated work in Funny Lady and the 1986 platinum hit, The Broadway Album, on which he served as co-producer as well as arranger/conductor.
In 1971, Matz returned to Los Angeles to begin an eight-year engagement as musical director of The Carol Burnett Show, a personally and professionally rewarding association which would bring him an Emmy Award and three other nominations. His additional television credits included composing scores for more than forty movies for television and six editions of Doug Henning's World of Magic, as well as musical directing literally hundreds of specials, series and pilots, including Once Upon A Mattress, The Tim Conway Show, Mama's Family, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Muppets in Hollywood, Musical Comedy Tonight, Of Thee I Sing, Omnibus, The Presidential Inaugural Gala, and specials starring Carol Burnett, Sheena Easton, George Burns, Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler, Shirley MacLaine, Bernadette Peters, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Beverly Sills, Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton, and Mikhail Baryshnokov. For five years, he also contributed arrangements and orchestrations to the annual Academy Awards telecast.
In addition to his concert work and arranging/producing albums for most of the great singers of our time, Matz composed scores for the feature motion pictures, Torch Song Trilogy and The Gum Shoe Kid. In 1989 he returned to his roots on Broadway to orchestrate the hit musical, Grand Hotel , directed by Tommy Tune. He went on to produce the cast album for RCA/BMG Records. Matz produced, arranged and conducted albums for Elaine Paige (BMG/RCA), Kiri Tekanawa (EMI), Nancy LaMott (Listen To My Heart and What's Good About Good-bye?), Sam Harris (Standard Time/Theater Songs) and the cast album of Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public.
Peter frequently taught seminars and served on the faculty of the USC School of Music. He and his wife, singer Marilynn Lovell, wrote and performed a series of benefit concerts around the country which raised more than $400,000 to provide home health care for people with AIDS. Acting in the capacity of music director/arranger/conductor, Peter was actively involved in many of APLA's annual "Commitments to Life" fundraisers, Shanti Foundation fund-raisers and the 1996 S.T.A.G.E. Benefit. Peter was the musical director of the "Reprise" series of Broadway musicals in concert performances in Los Angeles.
This immensely talented, kind and gentle man passed away on August 9th, 2002. He will be sorely missed.