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Matthew King

Matthew King has established a reputation as a composer whose music is challenging and exciting for performers and audiences alike. His work has been described as “music of distinctive beauty with disarming theatre sense” (Independent on Sunday), “exhilarating” (The Sunday Times) and “teeming with ideas…with a Reich-like jauntiness of rhythm and texture” (The Times).

Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Matthew’s Totentango was premiered by the LSO in February 2010. In 2011, the autistic savant pianist Derek Paravicini featured in the national news when he gave the first performance of Matthew’s Blue with the Orchestra of St. John’s at the QEH. Also in 2011 Aurora premiered Matthew’s Velocity, ‘a Hitchcockian tone poem’ for ensemble with big band and chorus; and a new work for piano quintet and electronics called Cure of Souls was premiered by the Bergersen quartet with the composer at the piano in October 2012.

Matthew has composed several ambitious stage works including the chamber opera, Das Babylon Experiment, which was staged at the Nuremberg International Chamber Music Festival in 2008, On London Fields (winner of the 2005 Royal Philharmonic Society Education Award), and the community opera, Hear our Voice (co-written with Jonathan Dove and shortlisted for a 2007 British Composer Award), which was performed in London, Nuremburg and Prague in 2006.

Matthew has also written a number of innovative site-specific pieces exploring landscape in musical terms. The King’s Wood Symphony (commissioned by the Wigmore Hall and Stour Valley Arts) featured massed French horns, percussion and electronics, dispersed around a forest in Kent. A review in The Independent described the work as “a must-hear”. The King’s Wood Trio and Quintet (both composed alongside the Symphony) were premiered at the Wigmore Hall in 2007. Among his smaller works, Sonatas for piano solo, takes only a minute to perform and is a succession of 32 bars, quoting from each of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in chronological order.

Matthew is a leading figure in music education and community work. He has been a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama since 1994 and was head of composition at the Yehudi Menuhin School from 1997 - 2001. He performs regularly as a pianist, and has presented several programmes about music for both BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.

Matthew lives in Kent with his wife Christina and their children, Isobel, Miriam and Nathaniel.