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Michael Matthews (composer)

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Michael Matthews
Michael Matthews at his home in Berlin in 2021
Michael Matthews at his home in Berlin in 2021
Background information
Born (1950-08-28) August 28, 1950 (age 73)
Gander, Newfoundland, Canada
Occupation(s)Professor, composer, photographer
Years active1970–present

Michael Matthews, born August 28, 1950, in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, is a composer and photographer.[1] Matthews completed a Ph.D. in composition at North Texas State University in 1985.[2] Matthews is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and works in Berlin.

Matthews' abstract photographs have been exhibited in Germany and the US.[3][4][5] Canadian publisher At Bay Press has recently published Gibbous Moon, a book of photography and poetry created in collaboration with poet Dennis Cooley.[6]

Early life[edit]

Michael Matthews was born in Gander, Newfoundland in 1950. At that time his father John Matthews was working for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as a ground operations manager. Matthews was still an infant when his family moved to Miami, Florida, where his father took a job with Pan Am. Growing up, Matthews lived in Miami, Kingston, Jamaica, Managua Nicaragua, Port of Spain and Piarco, Trinidad, and Karachi, Pakistan, where he attended and graduated from the Karachi American School (KAS). A year at Purdue University studying aeronautical engineering followed, and then a move to Los Angeles, where he changed his focus to music. After earning his Ph.D. in composition and conducting, Matthews took a nine-month teaching appointment in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba. This was followed by two years of teaching at Mokwon University in Taejon, Korea, and then a return to Canada to take up a tenure-track faculty position as head of the Composition Department at the University of Manitoba School of Music (currently the Desautels Faculty of Music).[7][8]


His composition teachers included Larry Austin at the University of North Texas College of Music (formerly North Texas State University), Ben Glovinsky at California State University Sacramento and Aurelio de la Vega at California State University Northridge.[9]


From 1985-2012, Matthews was head of the composition department at the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg; he is now a Professor Emeritus there.[10] Matthews is a conductor and a founder and artistic director of the GroundSwell new music series in Winnipeg.[11][12]

From 2002-2004 he was Composer-in-Residence with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.[13]

Matthews is a member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community,[14] member of the Canadian League of Composers[15] and an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre.[13]


  • it is raining gently with light for cl/b.cl.vn.pf. Commissioned by GroundSwell and Madeline Hildebrand (2021)
  • till our bodies into the night slip for cl/b.cl.vc.pf. Commissioned by SOLI Chamber Ensemble[17] (2020)
  • perishable light for viola/viola d'amore and percussion. Commissioned by Park Sounds[18] (2019)
  • Septet for fl.ob.cl/b.cl.sax.vn.vc.pf. Commissioned by ensemble mosaik (2016)
  • Sólo queda el desierto for soprano and chamber orchestra. Commissioned by the Montreal Chamber Orchestra (2014)
  • and the sky caught for clarinet (bass clarinet), viola and piano (2012)
  • String Quartet No. 4 Commissioned by the Penderecki Quartet (2011)
  • Six Poems of Novic Tadić for Mezzo Soprano and Chamber Orchestra (2008)
  • El Viento Helado for Woodwind Quintet (2007)
  • De Reflejo a Fulgor for Piano and Tape (2007)
  • Einklang for two Pianos (2007)
  • Night Music for Violin and Piano (2007)
  • The Language of Water for String Orchestra (2006)
  • The Skin of Night for Saxophone and Piano (2006)
  • 3 Duos (Book I) for violin and viola (2005)
  • String Quartet No. 3 (2005)
  • Symphony No. 3 (2005)
  • Prince Kaspar Chamber Opera based on a libretto by Per Brask (2005)
  • Piano Quartet (2004)
  • Away, Tear Away for Woodwind Quintet and Tape (2003)
  • Las Blancas Sombras for Voice and Guitar (2003)
  • String Quartet No. 2 (2003)
  • Particles of One for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (2002)
  • Prelude to Macbeth for Orchestra (2002)
  • Hommage à György Kurtág for 2 Violins and 2 Celli (2002)
  • Song Fragments for Cello and Piano (2002)
  • Symphony No. 2 (2001)
  • On the Outer Edge for Tape (2001)
  • Vertical Garden for Flute and Tape (2001)
  • Wondering for viola solo (2001)
  • Concerto for Cello (2001)
  • Miniatures for String Quartet (2000)
  • Fantasy/Nocturne for Piano (1999)
  • String Quartet No. 1 (1999)
  • . . . of the rolling worlds for Bass Clarinet and Tape (1999)
  • Ernst Toller: Requiem for an Idea for Cello and Actor (1999)
  • Partita — Images/Fragments for Violin and Piano (1999)
  • Into the Page of Night for Orchestra (1998)
  • Concerto for Piano (1998)
  • Lorca Sketches for String Orchestra (1997)
  • Postlude for Piano (1997)
  • Symphony No. 1 (1997)
  • Two Interludes for Orchestra (1996)
  • Deux chansons d'amour for Voice and Piano (1996)
  • Night Prairie for SATB Choir (1995)
  • In Emptiness, Over Emptiness for Soprano and Tape (1994)
  • Two Night Pieces for four Male Voices (1994)
  • Layerings for Vibraphone and Tape (1993)
  • Scattered Mirrors for Piano (1993)
  • Out of the Earth for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1993)
  • Between the Wings of the Earth for Chamber Orchestra (1993)
  • Rooms of Light for SATB Choir (1992)
  • Four Songs of Japan for soprano, viola and fortepiano (1991)
  • Landscape for Piano and String Orchestra (1990)
  • Of Time and Sky for Piano (1990)
  • The First Sea for Bass Clarinet and Tape (1989)
  • Wind Sketches for Wind Octet (1988)
  • The Far Field for Orchestra (1987)
  • Fantasy for Violin (1985)


String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3, Miniatures. Clearwater String Quartet, Ravello Records 7910, 2015.[19]


Carrabré, Pat. "Sounding Language: The Music of Michael Matthews", Border Crossings Vol.7, No.2, "The Royal Winnipeg Ballet" (#26), April 1988, pp. 42–43.

Kuhn, Laura, "Michael Matthews", Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Classical Musicians Nicolas Slonimsky, author, Laura Kuhn and Dennis McIntire, eds. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997. ISBN 978-0-028-71271-0

MacMillan, Rick. “Michael Matthews”, Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, 2nd ed. Ed. Helmut Kallmann and Gilles Potvin. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992. ISBN 978-0-802-02881-5


  1. ^ Musical Bridges Around the World (September 2020). "Partituren, Time Stands Still". Foto Septiembre USA. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Alumni Spotlight". University of North Texas College of Music. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Exhibitor History – Michael Matthews". Darkroom Gallery. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  4. ^ Glasstire. "Michael Kruscha and Michael Matthews – Time Stands Still". Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  5. ^ "Musical Bridges Gallery". Musical Bridges Around the World. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Poetry collections to watch for in Fall 2021". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Michael Matthews - bio". Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Encyclopedia.com". Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Michael Matthews | The Canadian Encyclopedia". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  10. ^ "Faculty, Instructors and Staff". Desautels Faculty of Music. University of Manitoba. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  11. ^ GroundSwell. "Artistic Director Information". GroundSwell. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Michael Matthews | Desautels Faculty of Music | University of Manitoba". umanitoba.ca. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  13. ^ a b Canadienne, Canadian Music Centre | Centre de Musique. "Michael Matthews: Showcase". www.musiccentre.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  14. ^ Canadian Electroacoustic Community. "Members of the CEC". Canadian Electroacoustic Community. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  15. ^ Canadian League of Composers (8 July 2015). "Current Members". Canadian League of Composers. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  16. ^ "Michael Matthews - Musical Works. Orchestral, chamber, solo, theatrical". Michael Matthews. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  17. ^ "20–21 Season". SOLI Chamber Ensemble. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  18. ^ Thiessen, Jennifer (22 May 2018). "Park Sounds". Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  19. ^ Lehman, Mark (November 1, 2015). "Review in American Record Guide". Retrieved 10 March 2022.

External links[edit]