What Lies Beyond
THE PRESENT Today, Matt Holtzman works as a worship leader at First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he passionately leads people into the presence of God in worship. His passion outside of his job, however, continues to be composing and performing original piano solo music. He is happily married to his lovely wife, Brooke and they are both taking great delight in raising their two boys Samuel Matthew and Luke Alexander. THE PAST Having been raised in the "live music capital of the world" - Austin, TX, music had always been a part of who Matt Holtzman was. It was obvious to his parents that music was woven into his character and personality from the beginning. His interest and curiosity towards the piano began to blossom at a very early age. Matt remembers when he was 4, banging away at the old piano that served primarily as decoration in the home. At the age of 7, he began to take piano lessons from a woman who lived down the street from his home on Overlook Drive. After school, twice a week, Matt would walk to her home, where she would teach him the basics of the instrument: reading notes, learning the scales and chords, etc. During the next 4 years, Matt's passion for the instrument grew. However, his frustration with reading music began to grow as well. "It was almost like my joy of the piano was being robbed...lesson by lesson...piece by piece," Matt says. "I decided that if I was to continue on with the instrument, I would need to find a different way to learn it." In realizing his frustration, Matt's mother decided to seek out a different teacher, hoping that her son's joy would return again. Then, at the age of 11, he and his mom found a teacher by the name of Eric Daub at the Austin School of Music. During their lessons, Eric continued to work with Matt on his reading, however he also taught Matt how to use his gift of playing the piano by ear. It was during this season that Matt's passion for playing the piano truly rose to a new level. And playing the piano simply became fun again. As Matt's gift for playing by ear grew, his desire to compose his own original music came into the picture as well. And when Matt reached the age of 12, he successfully completed his first piano solo piece entitled "The Gift." After performing the piece for a local recital and receiving such positive feedback from it, Matt continued with his composing. Other songs such as "A Hearts Desire" and "Chrysalis" were born. In 1995, with the support of his parents, Matt decided to venture into a local studio in Austin to record his first original piano solo album. This project, entitled Silver Linings, grew in popularity, which opened up opportunities for him to play in local coffee shops. In the fall of 1996, Matt moved from Austin to Lubbock, where he started college at Texas Tech University. His passion for writing piano solos stayed consistent during the transition. That year, he released his 2nd original piano solo album entitled Pure Reflections. As a freshman, he also tried something new and became the keyboard player for a local rock band named The Buddy Simmons Band, which primarily covered songs written by the Grateful Dead. This, of course, was much different than anything else he had experienced in his musical career! Not long after that, he left the band and formed a Christian acoustic rock band with some college friends called Threshold. It was in this band where Matt began to experiment with singing. In the next 2 ½ years, the band performed at various venues. The biggest gig, however, was undoubtedly the one at the Texas State Fair in Dallas, where they opened for Jars of Clay and Jennifer Knapp. In August of 2001, after receiving his B.A. in Advertising from Texas Tech, Matt took a job at Westminster Presbyterian Church as their Contemporary Music Director. It wasn't until the fall of 2004 when Matt decided to do another piano solo album. This time, he incorporated the sounds of Paul and Marjie Sharpe, who played the double bass and violin on various tracks. On Christmas Eve of 2004, Matt's 3rd original piano solo album entitled What Lies Beyond was released.