Matthew Davidson

Biography

Matthew de Lacey Davidson (b. Toronto, Canada; now res. Nova Scotia) holds degrees from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; the University of Toronto, Canada; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He has concertized in Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, with ragtime, early jazz, “classical” and contemporary music concerts.  He has actively promoted the work of other composers (both as performer and impresario).  His work has received radio broadcasts in New Zealand, North America, and Europe.

As a composer, his works encompass almost every medium, including text, music, and lyrics for a chamber opera; chamber music; improvisatory works; theater pieces; electronic and orchestral music.

Davidson studied piano privately with John Powell and Rae de Lisle in New Zealand (through whom a lineage may be traced to Franz Liszt); with Bruce Greenfield and Phillipa Ward at the Wellington Polytechnical Institute’s Executant Music Course in New Zealand; privately with Lawrence Pitchko and Harold Heap in Canada; and with William Heiles at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States.  He has recorded for Stomp Off Records, Capstone Records, Navona, and the Mastersound label.

Davidson is the recipient of commissions and awards from Victoria University, the Queen Elizabeth II (New Zealand national) arts council, the American (formerly Minnesota) Composers’ Forum, the University of Illinois, Meet the Composer/California, and The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission.  As a composer, he has been associated with the New York piano virtuoso of twentieth century music, Anthony De Mare; the Kronos Quartet; virtuoso violist Rudolf Haken; piano four-hand team Hourshid & Mehrshid Afrakhteh; and the Zukofsky Quartet.

He has studied theory with Alexander Rapoport at the Royal Toronto Conservatory of Music (through whom a lineage may be traced to the Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna), and counterpoint and computer music with John Melby at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States.  His principal composition teachers have been Jack Body in New Zealand, John Beckwith in Canada (through whom a lineage may be traced to Nadia Boulanger), and Salvatore Martirano in the United States.

His music is published by Honeyrock Publications in Everett, Pennsylvania, and the American Composers Alliance.  His work and papers are held in archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library division of the New Zealand National Library, and the Library of Congress in the U.S.

Critical praise for Davidson has come from such diverse sources as Gramophone Magazine (”…a remarkably talented pianist…as a performer Davidson has few peers…”), to Steve O’Keefe in Cadence Magazine (”…this disk by…Matthew Davidson is extraordinary.”), to recording artist for Vanguard, Epic, New World Records and Omega Classics, Max Morath (”…his [Davidson’s] stunning premier performances… mark… this pianist for landmark status and accolades – adjectives for which one reaches for the Thesaurus: prodigious, consummate, mighty. Well – sublime.”).  Jack Rummel in The Rag Times has said of his compact discs, “With his trademark leaps from pianissimo to fortissimo and his seemingly effortless mastery of all 88 keys, no other ragtime performer today explores the full range of the piano, both dynamically and geographically as he does.  He is a true virtuoso and his feats of his skill will amaze you.”  Of his album Talencourthbdirect(dot)com said: “He has…achieved a fine reputation as a concert pianist…and…his chamber music experience has given him exceptional insight into the workings of solo and chamber string music.” Prominent violinist of the violinfutura project, Piotr Szewczyk, has described Davidson’s compositions as “…very charming, sophisticated, and very innovative…”.   Lysandre Hamelin, writing in Musifax (the magazine of the Music Teachers Association of Quebec) states, "The work of Matthew Davidson is written with intelligence and attention to detail."  Mauro Carli, in the April 2000 edition of ALIAS (N.17) has stated:“…[Davidson’s work is]…simultaneously complex and communicative, very original, and with a well-defined identity.”

ACE Publications

53 title(s)
Composer Title SCORING/INSTRUMENTATION Year
Matthew Davidson #5 tape
Matthew Davidson À la manière de Borodine Woodwind Quintet
Matthew Davidson After Brahms (9 Concert Tangos for Piano 4-hands) Piano, 4-hands
Matthew Davidson Aliens...(aka The Enigma of the Arrival) 7 'performers'
Matthew Davidson BERGAMASQUES solo violin
Matthew Davidson Between the Lines tape
Matthew Davidson Das Lied Ohne Worte violin, piano
Matthew Davidson Deux Plaisanteries Eb alto sax, piano
Matthew Davidson Etudes for Piano Book I: A Cultural Odyssey Piano
Matthew Davidson Etudes for Piano Book II: A Ragtime Odyssey Piano Solo
Matthew Davidson Five Vignettes for Piano piano solo
Matthew Davidson Four Songs for Solo Clarinet solo clarinet in B-flat
Matthew Davidson Fragments for Woodwind Quintet Woodwind Quintet
Matthew Davidson GAVOTTE for violin solo Violin
Matthew Davidson I Had Five Long Years String Quartet
Matthew Davidson In the Land of Wonderful Dreams: A Suite of Five Piano Rags Piano
Matthew Davidson Le Poème Inattendu 4344, 4331, Harp, Perc 3 (separate part for Timpani if cond wishes 4th perc), Strings
4 Fl, 3 Ob, 4 Cl in Bb, 4 Bsn, 4 Hns (F), 3 Trs (C), 2 Ten Trom, 1 Bs Trom, Tuba, 3 perc ((small tri, cymbal, bell tree, guiro, ratchet, vibraslap, medium and large tamtam, small tomtom, tenor drum, 2 bass drums, glock, xylo, vibraphone, marimba) timp (do
Matthew Davidson Magyar Rondo Viola
Matthew Davidson Menuet pour le violon solo
solo violin
Matthew Davidson Menuetto from Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 5 (arr. for Solo Piano) piano solo
Matthew Davidson Minute Passacaglia
Matthew Davidson Music for Piano with Orchestra 2232 2110 perc(2), celesta, harp, piano, strings

Additional Works

The Winnsoboro Cottonmill Blues- Arrangement of the fourth movement of "Four North American Ballads" by Frederic Rzewski for one piano (four hands) for Hourshid & Mehrshid Afrakhteh (TwinMuse) by special permission of ZenOn Music Co. Ltd. Contact ZenOn Music Co. Ltd. for score.