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

51 title(s)
Composer Title SCORING/INSTRUMENTATION Year
Matthew Davidson Fragments for Woodwind Quintet Woodwind Quintet
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Matthew Davidson À la manière de Borodine Woodwind Quintet
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Matthew Davidson Four Songs for Solo Clarinet solo clarinet in B-flat
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Matthew Davidson Three Little Waltzes for Glass Harmonica glass harmonica
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Matthew Davidson Sonata for Clarinet and Piano clarinet in Bb and piano
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Matthew Davidson Rondo All'Ungherese string quartet
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Matthew Davidson Das Lied Ohne Worte violin, piano
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Matthew Davidson THREE SONGS Bass-Baritone, piano
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Matthew Davidson After Brahms (9 Concert Tangos for Piano 4-hands) Piano, 4-hands
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Matthew Davidson SYMPHONY No. 1 in 20 Keys Solo singers (Sop, Mezzo-Sop, Tenor, Bs Bar), large orchestra, divisi strings
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Matthew Davidson BERGAMASQUES solo violin
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Matthew Davidson QUARTETTO DELL'ARTE string quartet
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Matthew Davidson QUATRE MÉLODIES QUÉBÉCOISES Piano and voice (soprano, mezzo or tenor)
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Matthew Davidson SINGING LESSON – Chamber Opera in Three Acts 2 Lyric Sopranos, 2 Dramatic Mezzo-Sopranos, 1 Contralto, 1 Tenor Buffo, 1 Basso Buffo, and Cl, Bsn, TptinC, BsTbn, vln, cb, and 2Perc
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Matthew Davidson TRIO SONATA FOR FLUTE, VIOLA, and HARP FLUTE, VIOLA, HARP
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Matthew Davidson MUSIC FOR VIOLA & ORCHESTRA 2222,2211, 2 percussion, harp, Strings
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Matthew Davidson Zwei Motetten SATB choir
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Matthew Davidson SCHUMANN -- QUINTET for PIANO and STRINGS - DAVIDSON, Orch. 2222,4221,Perc (2), strings
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Matthew Davidson GAVOTTE for violin solo -
violin solo
Matthew Davidson Menuet pour le violon solo -
solo violin
Matthew Davidson Menuetto piano solo
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Matthew Davidson Papillons piano solo
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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.