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Matthews, David (b1943)

David Matthews

born: 9 March 1943
country: United Kingdom

David Matthews was born in London in 1943. He learned the piano at an early age but did not start composing until the age of sixteen when, hearing Beethoven’s ninth symphony for the first time, he decided to write a symphony himself. As there was no music at his school, he read Classics at the University of Nottingham—which has made him an Honorary Doctor of Music—while all the time intending to pursue a career as a composer. In his twenties he studied composition privately with Anthony Milner, and was also much helped by the advice and encouragement of Nicholas Maw, and later by Peter Sculthorpe. He spent four years as an assistant to Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh in the late 1960s. He was Music Advisor to the ECO in the 1980s and 1990s and Artistic Director of the Deal Festival from 1989 until 2003. He has largely avoided teaching, but to support his composing career has done editorial work (he collaborated with Deryck Cooke on the performing version of Mahler’s tenth symphony and is currently editing major works by Vaughan Williams), orchestration of film music and arranging. He has also written books on Tippett and Britten and articles and reviews for various journals. His music is widely played in Britain and around the world, and is frequently broadcast.

His music includes nine symphonies (all of which have now been recorded), five symphonic poems, seven concertos and fourteen string quartets (which are being recorded on Toccata Classics by the Kreutzer Quartet). His vocal music includes a large-scale Vespers, recorded by the Bach Choir and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under David Hill on Dutton Epoch. His numerous chamber works include seven commissions for The Nash Ensemble, most of them recorded for CD. He is currently finishing an opera, Anna, to a libretto by the late Sir Roger Scruton.


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