Matthew Welch is a composer of innovative opera and genre-resisting concert music. Named one of “14 artists changing the future of opera,” by Huffington Post, and regarded as “a composer possessed of both rich imagination and the skill to bring his fancies to life” (Time Out NYC), Matthew’s musical adventures and collaborative spirit have brought him to work with some of today’s most noted musical personalities: Anthony Braxton, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Julia Wolfe, and John Zorn. Mixing his backgrounds in bagpipes, gamelan, experimental, classical, rock and improvised music, Welch’s compositional sound is worldly and eclectic in material, yet personal and seamless in style.
Praised by the New York Times as “exquisitely ethereal” and “border-busting; catchy,” Matthew’s music has been performed in the US, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. Matthew holds degrees in Music Composition from Yale, Wesleyan and Simon Fraser Universities, and as a bagpiper, he has won three World Pipe Band Championship titles. His ensemble, Blarvuster, has been based in New York City since 2002. Welch co-founded Experiments in Opera in 2011.
In 2016 Matthew Welch was commissioned to compose for San Francisco Girls Chorus and the MATA Festival with Ensemble NeoN (Oslo), with respective premieres at Davies Symphony Hall (SF) and Scandanavia House (NYC). Also In 2016 Matthew was awarded a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council to explore traditional music and culture in the Philippines in Spring 2017. In December 2015 his residency at The Stone (NYC) featured 11 consecutive concerts of his multifarious music.
His music has been commissioned and performed by: Flux Quartet, Ethos Percussion, UMUU Orchestra (Helsinki), Quartet Metadata, Clocks in Motion, Cantata Profana, Suzana Bartal, Ensemble Proton (Bern, Switzerland), Transient Canvas, Gamelan Dharma Swara, SEM ensemble, Ostravska Banda (CZ), Janacek Conservatory Orchestra (CZ), and Dither Electric Guitar Quartet. Venues and presenters include: Merkin Hall, Jazzwerkstatt Bern (2011, 2012, 2014, 2017), Tulkinnanvaraista Concert Series (Helsinki), Bucknell University (2017), Merkin Hall (2016), Symphony Space (2011, 2012, 2017), The Stone (Residency 12.2015), New Music Gathering (’15, ’16), Ultima Festival (Oslo), Festival Gong: Bali Arts Festival (PKB 2010), Abrons Art Center, Q2 (WNYC, NPR) and Ostrava New Music Days (2001, 2005). His third album, 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.
Blarvuster, a unique hybrid ensemble dedicated to Welch’s music, has performed at notable venues and festivals including: Celtic Connections (Glasgow 2016), Roulette, Le Poisson Rouge, EMPAC, Western Front (Vancouver), Switchboard Festival (SF 2014), Tonic, Issue Project Room and CBGB’s. Blarvuster has performed for audiences of all walks: listeners of Classical, Rock, Jazz, Experimental, Celtic and World Music have all found something inspiring in it. Blarvuster’s unique line-up and infectious repertoire make its sound like no other. As Artistic Director of Experiments in Opera, Welch commissions and produces innovative opera in captivatingly inventive programs that feature bold new concepts in opera in a multitude of performance situations and media forms.