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Born in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, Mathes showed interest and skill in music at a very early age. By high school, Mathes' talents were already well known in his community, and he soon began working regularly as a professional writer and performer in the clubs of nearby New York City. After touring with Chuck Mangione, Mathes began to focus on writing and arranging in Nashville, and soon was writing songs for Bonnie Raitt, Kathy Mattea, Aaron Neville, Wynonna Judd, Faith Hill, Oleta Adams, Alabama, and Randy Travis. Mathes' arrangements are found on everything from The Three Tenors with Luciano Pavarotti to the Grammy Winning "Genius Loves Company" by Ray Charles.
He was also nominated for an Emmy as the regular musical director for The Kennedy Center Honors, which airs on CBS each holiday season. Rob was featured on Thomas Kinkade's 2001 album Music of Light with Bill Miller and Michelle Tumes. Tumes has ties to Australia and is a singer. Mathes has also musically directed The Songwriter's Hall Of Fame, NBC's Concert For America 9/11/02, and the all star Grammy week tribute to Bono in 2003.
Mathes works frequently as a record producer, producing albums for artists ranging from alternative rock bands like Panic! At The Disco, to adult contemporary projects for Carly Simon, Rod Stewart, Vanessa L. Williams, Michael Cavanaugh, and Melissa Errico. He has also written arrangements for artists as diverse as Lou Reed, Bono, Sting, Sade, Lenny Kravitz and Jay-Z, Yo Yo Ma, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Boston Pops Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Hot Hot Heat, Avril Lavigne, Butch Walker, Renée Fleming, Vanessa Carlton, Bowling For Soup, Evangeline Vournazos, Tim McGraw, Yolanda Adams, George Michael, Celine Dion, Panic! at the Disco, Ghostface Killah, Peter Cincotti, Renee Olstead, Lyle Lovett, Ronan Tynan, David Sanborn Michael McDonald, The Cab, and The Young Veins.
In addition to high profile work for others, Mathes has always channeled his resources back into his own music, recording albums such as Evening Train, a cult favorite among artists such as producer Phil Ramone, Jimmy Webb, and the late Warren Zevon.
Perhaps best known among his performances are yearly Christmas concerts, which have spawned 2 PBS television specials, Christmas Is Coming: Rob Mathes and Friends (featuring Michael McDonald, David Sanborn, Ossie Davis, and Vanessa L. Williams) and I Want To Hear The Bells, a documentary of his very first Christmas concert in 1993.
Rob has recently completed Orchestral Songs a CD of songs written for Voice and Orchestra he recorded over the last decade (for his wife), much of it in London at the famed Abbey Road Studios. Rob has recently conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, been commissioned to write piece for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and for the National Symphony featuring famed conductor Leonard Slatkin. On January 18, 2009, Rob served as the Musical Director of We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.
- Concert flyer (PDF) First United Methodist Church, Stamford, Connecticut (March 7, 2010) Retrieved January 10, 2011
- "Rob Mathes Behind-the-Scenes Music Career That Makes Stars Shine" All About Jazz (January 2, 2009) Retrieved January 10, 2011