Matthew Davidson (b. 1964, 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. Apart from concertizing in Canada, New Zealand and the United States, with ragtime, early jazz, “classical” and contemporary music concerts, he actively promotes the work of other composers (both as performer and impresario) and his work has received radio broadcasts in New Zealand, North America and Europe.
Dr. 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.
As a composer, his works encompass almost every medium, including text, music, and lyrics for a singspiel; a chamber opera; chamber music; improvisatory works; theater pieces; electronic and orchestral music.
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, The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, and he has been associated with the New York piano virtuoso of twentieth century music, Anthony De Mare and with the Kronos Quartet, 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 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, the Composers Association of New Zealand, The American Composers Alliance and the Bibliotheque Internationale de Musique Contemporaine in Paris, France. His complete works are held in archive at the Canadian Music Centre in Montreal, Quebec; the New Zealand Music Centre (SOUNZ); and in the Alexander Turnbull Library division of the New Zealand National Library.
Some of his compact discs (e.g. the original Mastersound issue of The Graceful Ghost) have become collector’s items. He has recorded for Stomp Off Records, Capstone Records, Navona, and the Mastersound label.
This catalog of works is to be considered final and complete.
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.”). Of his latest album, Talencourt, www.hbdirect.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.”