Michael Matthews’ music has been performed in countries around the world. GroundSwell and the Brandon Chamber players recently premiered his new work Six Poems of Novica Tadić. The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra premiered the newly commissioned work The Language of Water in September 2006. In July his work The Skin of Night was premiered at the World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia. October 2005 saw the performance of Away, Tear Away at the prestigious Cervantino Festival in Mexico. In May of 2005 he oversaw the world premiere of his chamber opera Prince Kaspar, and also conducted the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in the premiere of his Cello Concerto. In 2002 the world premiere recording of his Symphony No. 1 was released on TNC Records; Virko Baley conducted the Kiev Camerata Orchestra. Upcoming performances include premieres in Montreal, Italy, Mexico, and the United States.
Matthews has been the recipient of numerous commissions and awards; in 2000 he held a Rockefeller Foundation residency at the Bellagio Center in Italy. In the summer of 1999 he was a participant in the Composition and Computer Music Seminar of the Bartók Festival in Szombathely, Hungary. His orchestral work Two Interludes was awarded third prize in the 1997 du Maurier Arts Ltd. New Music Festival Canadian Composers Competition. In 1994 he became the first Canadian to receive a prestigious commission from the International Computer Music Association. He has also received numerous Canada Council and Manitoba Arts Council grants, the Winnipeg Rh Institute award for interdisciplinary research, a residency at the EMS computer music studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and a prize in the Premio Musicale Cittá di Trieste, Italy for his orchestral piece The Wind Was There. He has worked at the Banff Centre, at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University and, most recently, at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras, in Morelia, Mexico, where he worked on a piece for piano and tape commissioned for pianist Duane Cochran.
Matthews is a conductor and a founder and artistic director of the GroundSwell new music series. From 2002-2004 he was Composer-in-Residence with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. Works available on CD are: Symphony No. 1 and Out of the Earth (recorded by Virko Baley and the Kiev Camerata for TNC Records); In Emptiness, Over Emptiness (recorded by Therese Costes for the CDCM series on Centaur Records); Scattered Mirrors (recorded by Shirley Sawatzky on Adventures of Piano Woman); Of Time and Sky (recorded by Peter Vinograde on Two Canadian Masterworks for Piano); Fantasy (recorded by Victor Schultz on Jeté); Songs of the Masked Dancers (recorded by Thira on Passage Through Time); The First Sea (recorded by Lori Freedman for the CDCM series on Centaur Records); and Between the Wings of the Earth (recorded by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra for BIS Records). He has lived and traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean. Matthews holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Larry Austin. He is currently director of the composition program at the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba.