Matthew Shlomowitz

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Matthew Shlomowitz (born 7 February 1975) is a composer of contemporary classical music and Associate Professor in Composition at the University of Southampton.


He was raised in Adelaide, Australia, and studied with Božidar Kos [sl] at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and with Brian Ferneyhough at Stanford University. He also studied privately with Michael Finnissy in the United Kingdom.

Since 2002 he has lived in London[1] where he lectured at the Royal College of Music and for the Syracuse University London Program. He taught composition at Durham University during the 2008/09 academic year and was a Programme Collaborator for the Borealis Festival in Norway.


He is co-director of Plus minus ensemble and the performance series Rational Rec and is a member of InterInterInter, a group that creates events mixing performance and audience activity. He was also a co-founder of Ensemble Offspring.[2] He has been represented by the New Voices scheme at the British Music Information Centre and by the Australian Music Centre.

The bulk of his compositions are for chamber ensembles and often involve unusual instrumental combinations. Free Square Jazz, for instance, is for recorder, electric guitar, double bass and drum kit and Line and Length[3] is scored for soprano saxophone, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet & bassoon.

A number of his works are interdisciplinary such as the music-video pieces Train Travel[4] and Six Aspects of the Body in Image and Sound (co-created with Rees Archibald) and an ongoing series of works for visual performer and musician called Letter Pieces. Certain works fall more comfortably into the genre of "performance pieces" such as Northern Cities and When is a Door Not a Door? Other works blur the boundaries between concert music and performance piece such as Five Monuments of Our Time, an orchestral work that requires the conductor to perform a series of choreographed gestures often ludicrously unrelated to the music being played. Such apparent absurdity and humor is not unintended; it has been said that,[5]

... he seems to have a special feeling for those inadvertently comical situations in which we all sometimes find ourselves: a peculiar kind of miscommunication where we don’t so much get our wires crossed ... as get entangled in them


Some of his music shows the structural constraints analogous to the rules of Oulipo;[5] familiar sounds from popular and everyday culture are also a regular feature of his music palette.[6]

Musical Style[edit]

He has described his own music as being "something like the bastard love child of Brian Ferneyhough and Philip Glass."[7]

Musical works[edit]

Selected musical works, including commissions and major works, are:[8]

Category Title Year Orchestration Commissioned by
Vocal music Instrumental Music 2011 8 voices EXAUDI
Performance pieces Letter Pieces 2007+ Open-score pieces for performer and musician -
Orchestra Music and Actions for strings, keyboard and conductor 2015 Conductor, keyboard and string orchestra Nederlands Strijkers Gilde
" Listening Styles 2013 orchestra with drum kit The Adelaide Festival
7+ players Popular Contexts, Volume 3: The Music of Theatre Making 2011 Conductor, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, drum-kit (with glockenspiel), guitar, mandolin, violin, viola, cello, double bass and sampler keyboard Nieuw Ensemble
" Avant Muzak 2010 Flute, soprano saxophone, drum kit, electric guitar, harp, violin, cello and sampler Centre Henri Pousseur for Ensemble bESIdES
" Joy Time Ride for Ives 2009 Flute, oboe, bass clarinet, bassoon, drum-kit, electric organ, 2 violins, cello and double bass Ives Ensemble
2-6 players Popular Contexts, Volume 7: Public domain music 2014 Clarinet, electric guitar, synthesizer and sampler, drum-kit and cello asamisimasa
" The Major Sevenths Medley 2014 4 electric guitars TRANSIT Festival for Zwerm
" Popular Contexts, Volume 6 2013 Trio for vibraphone, drum-kit and sampler keyboard MaerzMusik, Speak Percussion with support from Julian Burnside
" Logic Rock 2013 Guitar and drum kit bESIdES
" Songs about words and about the pleasure of misery 2012 Soprano and piano The Britten-Pears Foundation
" Popular Contexts, Volume 4: Rhythm Section 2012 midi guitar and 3 drum kits Drumming Grupo da percussao
" Theme Street Parade 2009 String quartet BBC for Quatuor Diotima
" Earth Breeze Smoke 2008 2 recorders The Bruges Concertgebouw
" Line and Length 2007 Soprano saxophone, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet & bassoon The 2007 Spitalfields Festival for Calefax
" Slow Flipping Harmony 2006 Four melodic instruments and one auxiliary player The Australia Council for the Arts for Ensemble Offspring
" Free Square Jazz 2005 Soprano/tenor recorder, electric guitar, double bass and drum kit The Orpheus Institute for Champ D'Action
Solos Popular Contexts, Volume 2 2010 For piano, sampler, voice and physical actions (one person) Centre Henri Pousseur for Stephane Ginsburgh
" Serious and Sincere Sentiments About Something (or "Thought Rhythms") 1999 Guitar The Australia Council for the Arts
Works with video A Documentary Saga of the OULIPO 2006-7 Video work with Rees Archibald & Andrew Infanti -
" Six Aspects of the Body in Image and Sound 2004 Clarinet, piano, violin, viola, cello and video (by Rees Archibald) The Bath International Festival of Music for The Tate Ensemble


  • Electric Dreams (2017)[9]

Prizes and awards[edit]

  • 7th Johann-Joseph-Fux Competition for Opera Composition[10]


  1. ^ "Group's strengths play more to contemporary than older music". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  2. ^ "No divas, just sparkling team effort". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 November 2003. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Calefax". The Times. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Beauty of the spitting image". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 August 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Matthew Shlomowitz". 20 Sep 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Matthew Shlomowitz, what one hears in Popular Contexts". Music Electronique / Musique Mixte. Centre Henri Pousseur. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  7. ^ GAIDA 2016 programme notes, cited in Makem in the Baltic (26 October 2016). "Baltic Musical Gems". Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  8. ^ Shlomowitz, Matthew. "Works". Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Matthew Shlomowitz (AU) | Electric Dreams". steirischerherbst (in German). Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Prize winners". University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz (in German). Retrieved 21 October 2017.

External links[edit]