Doctorate in Music

2016 - 2020

 

Matthew was awarded a doctorate in music performance by the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, Ireland 2021.  Matthew's thesis was titled 'Implicit Curriculum: Improvisation Pedagogy in Guitar Methods 1760-1860' and focuses on disparate but often overlooked strands of guitar pedagogy. The early 19th century was a transformative time for the guitar both in the instruments construction and the performance style. This is made abundantly clear by the amount of guitar tutors and method books available during this time period. 

 

Drawing upon analysis of over 250 guitar methods this research explores how and for what purpose musicians learned to improvise.  That these musicians were overwhelmingly woman of various classes is important and their significance as consumers, performers and instructors came to define the classical guitar community in Europe of this period. The skill sets they encouraged their students to develop were more varied and all encompassing and revisiting these ideas will be an integral part of transforming the way we teach the instrument today.

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Termina con slancio

Solo Recital 2020

The pieces in my final DMus recital reflect my study of the classical guitar now reaching its alleged maturity. Culminating with the 25 minute Sonata no. 2, who's technical challenges have pushed my hands to perform things I never believed possible.

Sonata no. 2 was composed by Mark Delpriora who I had the privilege of studying under in 2014-2016. The piece is remarkable in its scope and breath of detail. The composition is tightly knit but unfolds like a veil resting atop a young face in mourning.

 

The thema permeates the outer movements and stares out behind a myriad of complex and demanding physical techniques. The work is a 20th century masterpiece and is developed with bravado, humor, and tender introspection.

 
 
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Quasi una Fantasia

Solo Recital 2019

 

This program included repertoire that all alludes to or shares a heritage with improvised forms. French dance suites, early 19th century sonata forms, and fantasia like scherzi all featured improvised activities. From the improvised preludes of a suit, the diminutions found in dance movements, or the free arpeggio section now known as the development section of a sonata, these works finds inspiration in these improvised traditions.

 

The recital ends with Cinque Pezzi di Mare, miniatures marked by their freedom and allusions to the forms of the fleetingly illusive, and yet ever more present past.

 

Early 20th Century Guitar

Solo Recital 2016-2017

 

The music of the early 20th century was indelibly connected with one central figure, Andres Segovia. However before Segovia and the repertoire he championed rose to international fame composers and guitarists were already flirting with the idea that the guitar was a concert instrument.

 

Catalan guitarist Miguel Llobet undeservedly occupies the shadow of Segovia however his importance to the guitar as a performer, and composer is beginning to be well documented. His compositions stand up as some of the most influential and beautiful music of this period, and his friendship with Manuel De Falla produced the beautiful 'Homenaje - Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy.' Works included De Falla, Llobet, Torroba and Vill-lobos.

Masters Recital

Solo Recital 2014-2016

 

My time in Manhattan was transformative and this recital attempts to capture a snapshot of the beginning and end of my formal education. I felt it was appropriate to offer a selection of etudes by Fernando Sor not only because of their excellent musical qualities but also  markers of a superior technique. Sor's etudes vary in difficulty but the etudes of Op. 29 are as dense and complex as any nineteenth-century work and deserving of more than just study. I spent many years studying Sor's etudes and it was a personal goal of mine to complete all 20 studies selected by Segovia during my masters.

The second half represents my projected career path, playing contemporary music with an emphatic focus on performing works by women and people of color. This commitment to a more anti-racist and egalitarian form of classical music is a priority I try to embody everyday. 'Sparks' is a beautiful study in harmonics by Dai Fujikura, and Jana Obrovská was an incredibly accomplished composer who gave us some beautiful works for solo guitar. 

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