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Conducting, Lecturing, Teaching

Conducting

From my days as an undergraduate I felt that it was necessary to supplement composing with other musical activities which would, in different ways, feed the creative impulse. I have been aware that conducting can be a very valuable tool for composers but only if I underwent an intensive amount of studying in its art.

My early years were spent under the expert guidance of Robin Page who must have had a tough task as I am naturally badly co-ordinated and clumsy so much so that for one lesson was devoted to transferring oranges from one hand to the other. Later I took lessons from Vilem Tausky at the Guildhall who was always illuminating when approaching Dvorak and Janacek.

Working with Bernstein at the Schleswig Holstein Summer School in 1987 was of course a revelation, for he was one of the very few conductors I have ever watched who could literally transform the sound of an orchestra by standing on the podium. A Bernstein rehearsal seemed to me to unlock the real essence of the composer; the risk taking, the "living on the edge" were not egocentric mannerisms as is often maintained, but an ability to bring one closer than ever before to the humanity of the music.

The more strictly disciplined approach of George Hurst worked as a perfect counterbalance to Bernstein, and I will be forever grateful to George for championing my 1st Symphony in the late 80’s.

Having felt that there were so many significant figures whose work was continually undervalued or even ignored I felt a passionate urge for their music to be heard, not in concerts full of contemporary music for I have never been attracted to the ghetto approach but alongside the Classical masters. Amongst the composers whose work seems unjustly neglected are Robert Simpson, Vagn Holmboe and Malcolm Arnold.

I was most honoured when Robert Simpson decided to dedicate his last symphony (No.11) to me and was delighted to receive the dedication of David Matthews’s 11th Quartet, another composer whose work I greatly admire. Other composers whose work I am eager to promote include James Francis Brown, Alan Mills, John McCabe, Cy Lloyd and Toby Young.

Reviews of Matthew’s Hyperion recording of Simpson Symphony No.11, and Variations on a Theme of Nielsen

Matthew Taylor secures magnificent playing from the City Of London Sinfonia... His pacing is ideal... an utterly marvelous disc.

Guy Rickards, Gramaphone, November 2004

This outstanding performance - one of the finest in this outstanding recorded cycle. Strongly recommended.

Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine, October 2004

The performance by the City Of London Sinfonia is excellent… Matthew Taylor creating the illusion that the piece is already key repertoire…

Rob Cowan, The Independent, July 2004

Lecturing and Teaching

Much of my life is spent giving lectures on music. Since 1991 I have been giving series of music appreciation illustrated talks at the Blackheath Halls which is a splendid venue for listening to music as well as live performance. I also give regular lectures at Northwood and also at Sanderstead.

Music Appreciation at Blackheath Halls:
Mahler Revisited

The next 10 week course begins in January 2016 with Matthew's talks being held at the Recital Room at Blackheath Halls on Monday mornings from 10am-12pm.

All newcomers are most welcome.

For further details:

Whilst Adult Education has been central to my work as a musician I have always felt a strong desire to communicate my enthusiasm for the great composers to younger students. I have worked at the Junior Academy, Royal Academy of Music in various capacities for many years now and feel very privileged to have taught some of the finest young musicians now appearing in the profession.

Current & Recent Conducting News

World premiere: Violin Concerto

Saturday 2nd March 2013

Works: Violin Concerto, Op.42

Matthew Taylor - Composer In Residence at Presteigne Festival

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Thursday 27th August to Tuesday 1st September 2015

The Presteigne Festival, Artistic Director George Vass, has long established itself as one of the most imaginative, enterprising and outstanding UK Festivals which achieves original and stimulating programmes by balancing contemporary works with established classics. Matthew will be the Composer in Residence for 2015.

Notable Performances

World premiere: Piano Concerto

Sunday 23rd May 1993

Works: Piano Concerto, Op.13

World premiere: Adagio

Wednesday 4th November 1998

Works: Adagio

World premiere: Clarinet Concerto

Saturday 19th June 1999

Works: Clarinet Concerto, Op.20

World premiere: The Needles

Sunday 28th January 2001

Works: The Needles, Op.26

Symphony No.1

Wednesday 12th November 2003

Works: Symphony No.1, 'Sinfonia Brevis', Op.2

World premiere: Romanza for strings

Wednesday 28th February 2007

Works: Romanza, Op.36b

St Petersburg Festival of British Music 2007

Wednesday 31st October to Saturday 1st December 2007

Conducted works by Malcolm Arnold, James Francis Brown and David Matthews.

Symphony No.3

Thursday 15th November 2007

Works: Symphony No.3, Op.33

St Petersburg Festival of British Music 2009

Sunday 15th to Saturday 28th November 2009

Matthew has been appointed Artistic Director where he will be giving the world premiere of Arthur Butterworth's 6th Symphony with the St Petersburg Capella Orchestra. He will also be opening the festival by conducting Britten's Cello Symphony with Sergei Slovachevsky.

Conducting Shostakovich, Grondahl, Arnold

Saturday 3rd July 2010, 7.30pm

This concert offers the very rare opportunity to hear a live performances of one of Malcolm Arnold's late masterpieces, the Symphony No.8. Also Shostakovich Symphony No.9 in E flat and Grondahl's Trombone Concerto.

World premiere: Viola Concerto

Saturday 2nd July 2011

Works: Viola Concerto (Humoreskes), Op.41

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