"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.

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










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:










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










Which took place here:










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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Around Britten CD

January 30th, 2013

SIGCD318A defining statement in modern cello-playing’ Sinfini *****

My new CD is out – of course it is centred around Britten (the 3rd solo suite), and also features beautiful solo works by John Tavener and Gavin Bryars (this last one is the first recording of the piece), and an improvisation, all recorded in Canterbury Cathedral. I’ve also put on some arrangements of Britten songs that I made for multiple cellos, multi-tracked in my home studio including Since She Whom I Loved which is from Britten song cycle The Holy Sonnets of John Donne. It’s got to be one of the most intimate and moving songs ever written and I think it works really well on cello. I’m happy with it – more so than usual for my recordings, which are sometimes hard to listen to! And it’s great to have the disc out to coincide with my tour – here are a few reviews…on the new Sinfini website and on Amazon (where you can also buy it) and Presto News

Watch the making of my Around Britten CD below, recording in the dead of night in Canterbury Cathedral (super-exciting!), and multi-tracking Britten songs at home. Alternatively, click here to watch it on YouTube.

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Please keep the Donations coming!

January 3rd, 2013

In 2013 I’m taking to the road for Around Britten, a mammoth tour of  celebrating Britten’s centenary. Here, I’m raising money for an exciting part of the tour: the amazing, oil-paint-on-glass 22′ Stop-Frame animation created by Yeast Culture. Please consider making a donation however small or large – you get the warm fuzzy glow from helping the arts, and your name on screen at the end of the performance!. Click here

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New video on YouTube…

December 13th, 2012

Matthew Barley talks about the Around Britten tour and cd release. Watch the video here

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Britten crowd-funding opportunity

December 7th, 2012

Today I launched a crowd-funding opportunity for my giant Britten tour for next year that could see your name on a screen at the end of my concert – 50 times around the UK!  An outstandingly creative company called Yeast Culture (who created the award-winning visuals for Akram Khan’s latest show) are creating a stop-frame animation to go with Britten’s third suite – we’ve been working closely on the content and you can see a preview of the beautiful oil-paints-on-backlit-glass effect here. I recently heard that two applications to trusts had been unsuccessful, so am launching this initiative to cover the shortfall in the film’s budget, and also to provide for a roadie/engineer for the 1000s of miles we will travel around the UK.

The tour, Around Britten, is my biggest ever project, and one that could not be more of an all-consuming passion! The 50 concerts and 50 workshops will feature Bach, Tavener, commissions from James MacMillan, Dai Fujikura and Norwegian DJ Jan Bang, and the piece with the visuals: Britten’s Third suite for solo cello.
Please, if you can, just donate £10 and if enough people chip in, we’ll get there (of course, if you feel like giving lots more, don’t let me stop you!).

You can see lots of details by going to the Around Britten page (top left), but concert performances will include South Forland Lighthouse, Peak Cavern (The Devil’s Arse), Bodiam Castle, Manchester Victoria Baths, the Wigmore Hall, Canterbury Cathedral, Shetland Arts Centre and many more.
Workshops will take place in schools, hospices for children, prisons, schools for autistic children, universities and homes for the elderly.


Click here to join the crowd!

And PLEASE, help spread the word – the campaign has started well, but we have a long way to go!

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