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“I wish more people would think about music the way Matthew Barley does” - The Times (London)

Credit: Nick White

Matthew Barley


Cello playing is at the centre of Matthew Barley’s career, while his musical world has virtually no geographical, social or stylistic boundaries. His passions include improvisation, education, multi-genre music-making, electronics, and pioneering community programmes.


Matthew is a world-renowned cellist who has performed in over 50 countries, including concertos with the BBC Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Kremerata Baltica, London Sinfonietta, Melbourne Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Royal Scottish National, Swedish Chamber, Vienna Radio Symphony orchestras and the Metropole Jazz Orchestra. With Viktoria Mullova he premiered and toured At Swim-Two-Birds, a double concerto by Pascal Dusapin, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Symphony, Orchestre National de France, RAI National Symphony and Seattle Symphony orchestras.


Matthew’s collaborations include with Matthias Goerne, the Labèque sisters, Avi Avital, Manu Delago, Martin Fröst, Shai Wosner, Calefax, Thomas Larcher, Amjad Ali Khan, Julian Joseph, Nitin Sawhney and Jon Lord (of Deep Purple), appearing in venues ranging from Ronnie Scott’s and the WOMAD festivals to London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Sydney Opera House and Zürich’s Tonhalle. In the 2000s Matthew’s new music group, Between The Notes undertook over 60 creative community projects with young people and orchestral players around the world.


Matthew has given premieres by Pascal Dusapin, Dai Fujikura, Detlev Glanert, Thomas Larcher, James MacMillan, Roxana Panufnik, and recently a concerto by Misha Mullov-Abbado with a cello part that is more than half improvised, at the London Jazz Festival for the BBC.


Since 2003 he has recorded for Onyx and Black Box and is now a Signum Classics artist. His 2019 recording of Tavener’s The Protecting Veil with the Riga Sinfonietta was described by Gramophone as "A magnificent performance...Even if you have other recordings of The Protecting Veil, I recommend this utterly beautiful and originally framed version unreservedly." His latest recording, Electric (“A sonic marvel”, The Strad) is an anthology of works for cello and electronics.


The next project, Light Stories, is a new programme for cello, electronics and visuals from Yeast Culture with much of the music written by Matthew. A UK tour starts at the Southbank Centre in September 2024 along with the release of a new album. He is also launching a new charity to run workshops using creative music and theatre to help university students with their mental health.

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