Conducting, Lecturing, Teaching
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:
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
Efi Christodoulou | St Petersburg Capella Orchestra | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | Capella Hall, St Petersburg, Russia
Works: Violin Concerto, Op.42
Matthew Taylor - Composer In Residence at Presteigne Festival
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.
The programme includes Matthew's works:
Variations on a theme of Reger Op.45
String Quartet No.6 Op.36
Fantasy on a theme of Arnold Op.40
World premiere: Piano Concerto
Sunday 23rd May 1993
Martin Roscoe, piano | The Goldberg Chamber Orchestra | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | Malvern Festival
Works: Piano Concerto, Op.13
World premiere: Adagio
Wednesday 4th November 1998
Orchestre d'Occasion | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | Carpenter's Hall, London
World premiere: Clarinet Concerto
Saturday 19th June 1999
Emma Johnson, clarinet | City of London Sinfonia | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | Hingham Church, Norfolk
Works: Clarinet Concerto, Op.20
World premiere: The Needles
Sunday 28th January 2001
Penshurst Sinfonia | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
Works: The Needles, Op.26
Wednesday 12th November 2003
City of London Sinfonia | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | St. Giles, Gripplegate, Barbican
Works: Symphony No.1, 'Sinfonia Brevis', Op.2
World premiere: Romanza for strings
Wednesday 28th February 2007
City of London Sinfonia | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | St. Andrew's, Holborn, London
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.
Thursday 15th November 2007
St Petersburg State Academic Orchestra | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | St Petersburg Festival of British Music 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.
Sinfonia Tamesa | St. John's Church, Wateloo, London
World premiere: Viola Concerto
Saturday 2nd July 2011
Sarah-Jane Bradley, viola | Sinfonia Tamesa | Conducted by Matthew Taylor | St John's Church, Waterloo, London
Works: Viola Concerto (Humoreskes), Op.41