Composer Matthew Welch has been awarded a grant and fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council to research in the Philippines. Welch's family, maternal side, were located in the Philippines 1905-1945, including the Santo Tomas internment during WWII. Research on this history and stories related has fueled the composition of Welch's opera-in-progress "And Here We Are," which was presented as part of the composer's residency at The Stone in December, 2015.
Review: "Welch’s And Here We Are followed, a more overtly sentimental path based on the memoirs of the composer’s great uncle, an opera singer imprisoned in the wartime Philippines. The piece circled with a jazzy flair provided by the small ensemble (trumpet, piano, vibraphone, bass guitar and drums, conducted by the composer). Baritone and librettist Daniel Neer intoned reminiscences of Welch’s elder in a half-spoken vibrato. Reflections of a life’s hardships, joys and yearning were pushed by an ever-modulating piano and round-robin repetitions moving across the band. The music ascended and descended, always moving while refusing to mold to the emotional impulses of the fragmented story.” – Kurt Gottschalk, New York Classical Review
Also an accomplished bagpiper, Welch has been regarded as “a composer possessed of both rich imagination and the skill to bring his fancies to life”. He studied composition with Barry Truax, Rodney Sharman, Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. Welch’s musical adventures and collaborative spirit have brought him to work with some of today’s most noted musical personalities, sustaining working relationships with experimental music staple Alvin Lucier and MacArthur recipient Anthony Braxton, his previous mentors, and a host of other esteemed artists, such as MacArthur recipient John Zorn, Bang on a Can Co-Director Julia Wolfe, Zeena Parkins, and Ikue Mori. His third disc of his own music, Dream Tigers (Tzadik, 2005), containing his critically lauded string quartet, Siubhal Turnlar, made both Time Out New York’s classical and non-classical top-ten CD lists for the year 2005.