Rutger's life is an ode to music and boundless creativity.

From the age of six, Rutger embarked on his musical journey, starting with the piano. Classical roots laid the foundation, but his heart found its true home in jazz, as he delved into the art at music high school. It was there that he discovered his passion for the chromatic harmonica, a unique instrument that became his artistic canvas.

Devoting six years to the pursuit of mastery, Rutger immersed himself in the world of the chromatic harmonica within the Jazz Bachelor's and Master's program at the prestigious Codarts conservatory in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In 2022, a game-changing moment arrived when he won the Toots Thielemans Challenge, supported by Toots' own management. This win marked a turning point in his career.

His music has resonated on grand stages, from a performance for Belgium's royal family to Berlin and gracing the Brussels and North Sea Jazz Festival in 2023. Beyond solo endeavors, Rutger has his own diverging bands. His "Duo Gaitar" with his former teacher Marijn van der Linden explores a blend of jazz, chanson, and Brazilian music, thrilling crowds time after time.

Rutger is also a part of the music collective 'Shikata Ga Nai,' a funk-fusion band, with whom he released their debut album in October 2023. Co-leading the “Mathys/Idris Quartet," he won the Dinant Jazz Contest in July 2023. In 2024, he was one of "De Twintigers" of the national broadcaster Klara. His artistic spirit extends to theater projects, tango ensembles, choro groups, and more.

In essence, Rutger is a masterful musician crafting evocative landscapes, both within the borders of music as beyond. But most importantly: across them!

Rutger Mathys

04 - 14 - 2000

Rutger plays Suzuki harmonicas.

Press photos


December 7, 2023

Galaxy Studios

My first job as a soloist at the famous Galaxy Studios. I recorded some lines for the soundtrack of a new HBO series.

15 januari, 2024


We have been lucky to do something for the radio with Duo Gaitar. This time we recorded "Buongiorno Principessa" from the film "La Vita è Bella" for Avrotros.

10 februari, 2024

Green Field Studio

In addition to a cash prize, the Mathys/Idris Quartet also received studio time in the Green Field Studio. We recorded a whole bunch of songs with video.

12 februari, 2024

De Twintigers

I have the honor of being with Klara's "De Twintigers". The radio station will put me in the spotlight in 2024 and, in addition to various interviews, will also broadcast a live concert by Duo Gaitar.

23 - 25 februari, 2024


A very special concert series: "Rutger Mathys & friends and their love for the song". I played a series of concerts here together with my closest musical friends - Marijn, Maël and Wido - as an ode to the song.

February 29, 2024

Hymn for Peace

Stereo Stuff played during the afternoon concerts at the MIM. A program that was specially composed for this occasion: an ode to peace.

March 23, 2023

Dragon Jazz Contest

Competitions have had a big impact on my music journey, inspiring me to open doors for the next generation. With this contest, we want to shine a spotlight on young jazz talent every year.

April 4, 2024


A delightful series of concerts featuring vocalist Flora de Geus. The unique blend of vocals and harmonica, enhanced by the use of effect pedals, added a distinct charm to the performances.

May 3, 2024

De Twintigers

I was selected as one of the Twintigers of 2024 at Klara. It's an honor to be placed in such a distinguished lineup of talented musicians by this renowned broadcaster.

May 24, 2024

F E N Festival

Shikata Ga Nai played at the Harmonica F E N Festival in Berlin.

November 25 - 27, 2022

Mathys/Idris in Berlin

Together with the Toots Thielemans Legacy, Steven de Bruyn, Jasper Houtekiet and Maël Mercier, we went to Berlin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Toots at the Belgian embassy. We also played at the Zig Zag jazz club, together with Bert Joris and his band.

December 11, 2022

Studio Morris

I did this concert at the request of Ella Michiels together with Wido Uvin, an interesting, unique guitar player from Aalst. His distinct way of combining styles forced me out of my comfort zone and made me play in ways I never played before.

January 14, 2023

Brussels Jazz Festival

We closed of the Toots 100-year with a concert that was worth it. Duo Gaitar played at the Brussels Jazz Festival in Studio 1 in Flagey. Toots's widow, Huguette was there to listen.

February 20, 2023

Philip Catherine

After meeting him this summer, I got the chance to play a few tunes with my big hero Philip Catherine in the legendary jazzclub "Banana Peel".

March 2, 2023

Album Recordings Duo Gaitar

A moment we've long been waiting for. The recordings of Duo Gaitar's debut album. We were finally ready and are very happy with the result of our work at Marmalade Music! This will be heard in the fall of 2023...

May 28, 2023

Brussels Jazz Weekend

The very first gig of the Mercier/Mathys Quartet in the legendary jazzclub l'Archiduc. Together with pianist and co-founder Maël Mercier, Toon Rumen on bass and Gabriel Moraes on drums.

July 7, 2023

North Sea Jazz Festival

A dream come true: playing at one of the largest jazz festivals in Europe. It became reality with Duo Gaitar when we were played at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam on July 7th.

July 29, 2023

Dinant Jazz Contest

Only a few months after the creation of the Mercier/Mathys Quartet, we took part in the Dinant Jazz Contest. With success: our very first competition immediately gave us first place. With a cash prize, two studio days and a spot on the festival calendar as a reward.

September 7,

SGN Videoclip Release

The release of our music video and final single before our album release: "The Frisbee". We gathered together with our fans in the cozy cinema of the Oemtata to watch our video before showing it to the general public.

October 2023

Vietnam Tour With Mike Del Ferro

In October 2023 I went on tour to Vietnam together with the world-famous pianist and ex-Toots accompanist Mike Del Ferro. This was undoubtedly one of the most educational experiences of my life. I met some great people there and got a taste for more international tours!

October 18, 2023

Cloud Cuckoo Land Release Show

Another milestone in the history of Shikata Ga Nai. The release concert of our debut album Cloud Cuckoo Land!

November 22, 2023

Waltz for Rutger

The official release of Duo Gaitar's first single: Waltz for Rutger. This tune will also be featured on our debut album which is coming out in early 2024.

May 29, 2022

Brussels Jazz Weekend

This edition of the Brussels Jazz Weekend was all about Toots Thielemans, who would have turned 100 this year! We are very happy that we could celebrate his birthday with Duo Gaitar.

July 13,

The Shape of Me to Come

My final exam at Codarts… I was able to conclude my four-year bachelor's degree with a smashing performance in Bird! Together with my friends from Duo Gaitar and Shikata Ga Nai I got a 9/10!

June 25, 2022

Toots Challenge

Toots would have turned 100 in 2022. There were plenty of activities to celebrate, including a contest bearing his name. I can proudly say that I won this award and am grateful to be a part of this Toots year in that way!

July 12, 2022

Ghent Jazz

Shikata Ga Nai got to play at the 21st edition of this amazing festival in our hometown! We're so grateful that we got the chance to be on the same stage as our heroes!

July 18, 2022

Single Release "The Wrong Chair"

Shikata Ga Nai's very first single on Spotify... After three weeks we already had more than 4000 streams! That's a good sign for our debut album, which will be released in the spring of 2023.

August 03, 2022

Stereo Stuff Episode 1

The very first episode of a new project with my good friend Elias: Stereo Stuff. With the support of Suzuki and Hammond, we look for intersections in our music and the boundaries of our harmonica-hammond duo.

August 12 - 14, 2022

Rutger Meets Grégoire Maret

As a result of the Toots Challenge, I was allowed to follow one of the best harmonica players in the world: Grégoire Maret. It was a great, instructive weekend with a concert by the Brussels Jazz Orchestra and the Metropole Orkest at Jazz Middelheim as a closing!

August 21, 2022
Cobra Museum Amstelveen

VPRO Vrije Geluiden

Duo Gaitar got the chance to do a "Vrije Geluiden" session for the Dutch production house VPRO. This was in the wonderful Cobra modern art museum. We are very honored to be part of this program!

September 23, 2022

Stereo Stuff Live

The first live performance of Stereo Stuff as our own support act. That of Shikata Ga Nai in the Izzy Jazz Club in Bruges. We never ment to play gigs with this project, but this groovy set has changed our minds.

October 6, 2022

Jazz Station Big Band

The Jazz Station Big Band has invited me to join them on their first concert of the season. This happened in one of the most famous jazz venues in Belgium: Jazz Station in Brussels. This is how I followed in the footsteps of my great hero Grégoire Maret.

November 6, 2022

International Hammond Festival

A nice new step for Stereo Stuff in our partnership with Suzuki Hammond Europe. We were guests at the international Hammond Festival to represent our instruments.

November 24, 2022

Stereo Stuff Royal

Stereo Stuff was asked to play for the Belgian the king and queen during the visit of the Swiss president at the MIM in Brussels.

May 18, 2021

Brand New Jazz Festival

This was a very special concert, since this livestream was the first gig I did since corona corona. But even more important: this was the very first concert we did with Duo Gaitar.

July 22, 2021

Duo Gaitar @ zomerbar Bloom

The first live gig of Duo Gaitar in the cozy summer bar Bloom!

October 22, 2021

Preliminary Sound Track

What started as a small project just for fun is running more and more out of hand. The passage of Shikata Ga Nai has not gone unnoticed during the preliminary's of Sound Track Oost-Vlaanderen. We even got a ticket for the finals.

October 23, 2021

Ars MusicaFé

One of my dreams is getting true with this project. David Maes and I have been approved by the management of Music School Ars Musica to start a music club where live music can be heard every month. This was the first night of many!

October 30, 2021

Het Verloren Akkoord @Urspelt

The very last gig of Het Verloren Akkoord...

October 21, 2021

Maestro Morricone

Together with 65 musicians, two choirs and movie director Jan Verheyen, I joined the Royal Harmony of Tielt in their tribute concert to the great "Maestro" Morricone.

December 18, 2021

Finals Sound Track

We had a blast with Shikata Ga Nai during the finals of Sound Track in the Vooruit in Ghent. No price, but definitely a night to remember!

March 26, 2022

I Can See Your Voice

A short but powerful passage in the VTM program I Can See Your Voice. I got the chance to show my voice and harmonica skills for Jonas van Geel and Natalia.

April 14, 2022

Codarts Pop Orchestra

On my 22nd birthday, I got the chance to play some features with the Codarts Pop Orchestra: an orchestra of young, talented people under the direction of Ronald Kool.

April 21, 2022


This was my first live experience with the Brunner Choro Group. I'm grateful that I can play this wonderful Brazilian music with these great musicians!

April 25 & 26, 2022

Album Recordings Shikata Ga Nai

At the end of April we went into the studio with Shikata Ga Nai to record our first album! Recording on tape all in one room... That's the old-school vibe that Shikata is all about!

May 25, 2022

Recordings Brunner Choro

We had the opportunity to inaugurate the new Codarts studios with the Brunner Choro Ensemble. For me, these were the very first recordings with a traditional Brazilian “Roda”!

January 19, 2019

Joie De Trois

A resumption of this great concept on a very special location: the prison of Dendermonde. This was the first time I played in a prison and was a very unique and rewarding experience.

March 2, 2019

Living room concert

This was the first living room concert we gave with HVA. The beginning of a series of entertaining performances and forerunner of the 'HVA smaakt' concept.

March 29 - 30, 2019

Back in Time

Back with the youth choir Glissando, but not behind the piano this time. Sebastiaan and I were responsible for the presentation of this spring concert.

May 5, 2019

Ars Musica Fest

At this festival we tried something new with HVA: an hour of self-penned Dutch-language pop songs, brought with a full-band. This was a very successful evening. After this concert we decided to combine the best of both worlds and integrate the band in our cabaret show.

July 20 & 28, 2019


A resumption of our show in theater tinnepot during the Gentse Feesten.

July 22 & 27, 2019

Joie De Trois

With our friends from Dragidoro and Glissando we played our trio concert once again during the Gentse Feesten.

July 19, 2019


Together with my partner in crime and pianist Elias d'Hooge I provided a little jazz at this cozy festival in Eeklo. 

September 14, 2019

The Rob Franken Electrification

The birth of "The Chairleaders". Together with my buddies of the the secondary art school, we put together this funk project to perform in the opening program of a.o. Bruno Castelluci and Theo de Jongh in LantarenVenster. The evening was dedicated to Rob Franken.

September 28 - 29, 2019

Groots Spektakel

When the fanfare of your village reaches its 150th anniversary, it should be celebrated. And that's what they did in Wippelgem. Along with the brass band, dancers and actors, HVA made it a real "Great Spectacle".

October 31, 2019

Diner Macabre

This concept show was all about music, theater and food. Together with Frank Hoelen, I talked the people through this spooky Halloween night. 

November 16, 2019

Benefit for Senegal

The last edition of "Joie De Trois" so far...

December 21 - 22, 2019

Santa's Party

Sebastiaan and me were the host of this Christmas concert of Ars Musica.

May 1 - 3, 2015

Une Belle Histoire

This was my first concert with the Ars Musica Ensemble. I sang and played the harmonica. It is also here that my love for the chanson arose.

December 28, 2016

A Not So Silent Night

The first Christmas concert of the youth choir Glissando. I accompanied these ladies for three years on the piano.

November 18 - 19, 2017

Benefit for Senegal

A precursor of the 'Joie De Trois' series. In this concert we worked together with the amazing tango Dancers of Tangorrion.

February 3, 2018

Light Festival

I played together with my dear friends Elias d'Hooge (piano)  and Tibo Polleunis (drums) during this edition of the Light Festival. This was in the beautiful showroom of the piano store Quatre Mains. What a wonderful location!

Februari 24-25, 2018

Movies On Stage

The next project of the Ars Musica Ensemble. We brought some of the most iconic film music to life on stage. I played harmonica and percussion.

June 1, 2018

The Armed Man

A choral project of which I am very grateful that I was allowed to be a part. This was a collaboration of the MUDA Choir, the Vocal Ensemble VOKAMANDO and the Koningklijk Harmonieorkest Vooruit.

Juli 14 & 17, 2018

Joie de Trois

A collaboration with youth choir Glissando, the chamber music ensemble Dragidoro and Het Verloren Akkoord. We let people enjoy a mix between tango, cabaret and pop.

October 5 - 6, 2018


A milestone in the young history of Het Verloren Akkoord. #tegendegroei was our first cabaret show that we brought to stage. We have written the music and lyrics of this show all by ourselves.

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