"This engrossing recital is a defining statement in modern cello playing." Around Britten CD – Sinfini, 2013

Matthew's musical world is one of adventure, collaboration, and diversity.
One of the finest cellists of his generation, Matthew has appeared as soloist with orchestras and in recital in many great concert halls around the world, and is equally comfortable with improvisation, making music with Indian, Brazilian or Jazz musicians... or a classroom full of children.

Celebrating Jon Lord

April 5th, 2014

Last night at the Royal Albert Hall there was great joy in celebrating the life and musical times of the great Jon Lord, most famous for his time as keyboard player with Deep Purple. I was very lucky to have worked with Jon, who wrote the Durham Concerto with me as one of the soloists some years ago – we played a movement of it last night. His warmth and nobility of character were something very unusual, and I was also very impressed by his knowledge of classical music and serious harmonic awareness in his music. He was a master in many ways.

But last night was also special for me on a personal note as I saw so many boyhood idols I’d seen perform in the 70s – Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Rick Wakeman, Roger Glover, Bruce Dickinson – and it took me back to my teenage days where I spent my terms going to every rock concert that came to Sheffield, and all the holidays playing with the National Youth Orchestra. Now I look back it seems pretty obvious that an adolescence like that would make a career like I have. And at the end of the evening Mark King (Level 42) came up to me and raved about my playing! I know it’s very immodest of me to write that here, but I was totally tickled pink.

Dear Jon, you enriched an awful lot of lives – none more than your dear family and friends, but also your legions of fans worldwide.

RIP

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Magical guitarist next Sunday

February 25th, 2014

It seems incredible that this is the first post I’ve managed since the Britten year – I must have been tired…well, this one could hardly be further from Britten, but Rainer Scheurenbrand is a dear friend and guitarist whose music I adore. We have a few concerts and a recording coming up, and here is a sample recording to get a taste of his amazing sound and focus.  Nana

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Click here for tickets for March 16th

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Live Recording this Friday

November 18th, 2013

Amazingly, I am actually coming to the end of the Around Britten tour – just a couple of weeks left. But some exciting ones still to come: this Friday, the centenary day of Britten’s birth, I will be recording the whole Around Britten programme live in Sheffield at the Upper Chapel. With a quick mastering and balance check for the pieces with electronics over the weekend, the whole concert will be available from Tuesday exclusively on iTunes – you can pre-order it here – and it includes the whole Around Britten album as well, so at £7.99 for nearly 2 1/2 hours of music it is very good value! :-) The recordings of MacMillan, Fujikura and Jan Bang will be world premieres and it will be interesting to compare the live version of the Britten and Bryars with the studio one recorded in Canterbury Cathedral last year. It will also be my first available recording of Bach.

Then after a dozen or so workshops and a couple more concerts (see here for details), the grand finale, event number 100, will take place at Britten’s old residence, the Red House, near Aldeburgh. This will be on December 4th, the day Britten died, and I’ll be playing in the library where Britten composed so much of his music. It’s going to be super-special for me – what an atmosphere it will be.

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BBC Music Magazine blog

July 13th, 2013

You can read the latest installment of my blog on the BBC Music Mag website here

June was a fantastic month for the Around Britten tour. It slows down not a bit for July and August making way for a few other things, and then kicks back at full speed for September for three months. I’m going to miss it when it’s over.

 

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Around Britten @ National Trust

June 23rd, 2013

Last night was the first of 10 Around Britten concerts at National Trust venues and it was a joy. Up in the North East of England, only 15′ drive from Newcastle, is a magnificent property called Gibside where I played in the chapel, also the mausoleum for Mr Bowes snr. who built the place

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The acoustic was just right for a solo cello – adding richness but retaining clarity – and the audience was very attentive and smiley. They lit dozens of candles so as the evening grew darker the candles came into their own which was magical. Here it is in daylight:

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This was the view from the door of the chapel as we came out for interval drinks:

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Which took place here:

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The National Trust is something of a miracle really. Hundreds of places of such enormous beauty, indoors and out, with rich history and wonderful stories to boot. In a sense that’s the easy bit (even when you add the amazing restorations they undertake), but what really makes it for me is the staff – they are a little like musicians in that working for the Trust is something of a vocation; they frequently work much longer hours than they need to, and the smiles and enthusiasm when they talk about their property are infectious. Basically, it seems that you work for the National Trust because you love it (many of them are volunteers), and it’s that spirit that comes across on a visit and is the icing on the cake – it’s the same as the Olympics and the welcome that people from all around the world received in London last summer, and it’s available day after day at all these magical places.

So there you go, I’m in love with the National Trust – and the National Trust concerts on the tour continue as follows – tell all your friends!

29th June 7.30 Coughton Court nr Redditch tickets

30th June 5.30 and 8.30 South Forelands Lighthouse nr Dover tickets

5th July 7.30 Coggeshall Barn nr Colchester tickets

27th July 4.30 and 7.30  Lodge Park, Cotswolds tickets

5th September 7.30 Hanbury Hall, Worcs tickets

6th September 7.30 The Vyne nr Basingstoke tickets

7th September 7.30 Bodiam Castle Sussex tickets

10th October 7.30 East Riddlesden Hall Keighley tickets

15th October Tyntesfield nr Bristol tickets

 

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