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Matthew King (composer)

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Title: Matthew King (composer)  
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Subject: Guildhall School of Music and Drama, The Snow Queen, List of 21st-century classical composers, Derek Paravicini, Jonathan Dove, Chamber opera, Richard Watkins, The Snow Queen (opera), Matthew King
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Matthew King (composer)

Matthew King (born 1967) is a British composer and pianist. His works include opera, piano and chamber music, choral and orchestral pieces.


King's early works include The Snow Queen, described by one reviewer as "music of distinctive beauty with disarming theatre sense."[1] More recently he has experimented with unusual combinations of instruments, sometimes located in unconventional performing environments. The King's Wood Symphony for multiple horns with percussion and an electronic score by Nye Parry was composed for performance in a forest. Described as "a site-specific symphony, one that could never sound the same way twice",[2] the work utilises the harmonic spectra of natural horns and electronically altered horn sounds calling to each other across a vast performing space.

King has also composed a series of innovative community works which endeavour to combine professional and amateur performers in a dynamic creative process without patronising either group. King's On London Fields (libretto by Alasdair Middleton) was described by Stephen Pettitt in the Evening Standard as "unafraid of complexity, even when writing for very young performers. Some of the clashing rhythms and textural layerings are mind-boggling."[3]

King's recent works include Odyssean Variations (premiered by British cellist Natalie Clein and an orchestra of young musicians from the London Borough of Hackney in 2008); the chamber opera Das Babylon Experiment (premiered in the open air in Nuremberg in 2008) and Totentango, premiered in 2010 by the London Symphony Orchestra. Blue, a concerto for piano and chamber orchestra, was written in 2011 for the Savant pianist, Derek Paravicini and a high speed tone poem called "Velocity", for ensemble with off stage cellos, chorus and big band was premiered by Aurora Orchestra in 2011.

Matthew King is married with three children. He has presented several programmes on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3. He teaches composition at Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Selected works



  • Maycock, Robert, The Independent, 26 June 2007 (retrieved 29 April 2010)
  • Morley, Christopher The Birmingham Post, 31 December 2003. (retrieved via subscription 3 March 2008)
  • Odam, George and Bannan, Nicholas (eds.), The Reflective Conservatoire: Studies in Music Education, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2005 pp 151–178
  • Pettitt, Stephen, "Hats off to the young and old of Hackney", Evening Standard, 22 November 2004 (retrieved 29 April 2010)
  • White, Michael, The Independent, 1 January 1996 (retrieved via subscription 3 March 2008)
  • White, Michael, The Independent, 7 June 1998 (retrieved 29 April 2010)
  • Rees, Carla, [2] (Music Web International review Of King's Robert Schumann in Three Pieces), April 2009

External links

  • Matthew King's page at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
  • BBC Radio 4 Documentary: Matthew King on Joseph Haydn in London
  • BBC Radio 4 Documentary: Matthew King on the musical savant Derek Paravicini
  • BBC News report on Matthew King's Concerto collaboration with Derek Paravicini

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