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|Nathan Ray Matthews, Producing Artistic Director|
Nathan R. Matthews
Nathan R. Matthews has a career that has taken him across North America as a music director, conductor, composer, vocal coach, pianist and educator. Regarding Matthews's composition, Anthony Tommasini wrote in The New York Times, "...it was impossible to resist the soprano Harolyn Blackwell's deeply expressive account of A Woman's Plight, a setting of some Edgar Allen Poe poems by an artistic director of the Riverside Opera Ensemble, Nathan R. Matthews."
He is the composer of the music theatre work, The Count of Monte Cristo, which he wrote with librettist, Stephen Pickover, a Metropolitan stage director. Matthews is a contributor to The Oxford Handbook of Sondheim Studies, which includes his chapter, “Orchestrators in their own words: the sound of Sondheim in the 21st century.” In collaboration with the composer, Matthews conceived, orchestrated, arranged and music directed the new music theatre work, It Goes Like It Goes, The Music of David Shire.
A founding director and the Producing Artistic Director and Music Director of the Riverside Opera Ensemble in New York City, Matthews’s credits with the company include producing and conducting the New York premiere of Zandonai’s Giulietta e Romeo that included producing an opening night benefit for God's Love We Deliver with professional and financial support from Leonard Bernstein. He produced and conducted the company’s world premiere production of the new American opera, Incident at San Bajo, by Patrick Byers, with Rosemary Harris and John Ehle serving as honorary chairs of the opening night benefit. Matthews has presented two concerts at Merkin Concert Hall featuring Pulitzer Prize winning composer, David Del Tredici, who played world premiere performances of his own compositions, including the company’s twentieth anniversary concert, which featured Del Tredici’s newly commissioned song cycle, On Wings of Song. Matthews and Metropolitan Opera director, Stephen Pickover, co-created Where or When…, a music theatre work using the music of Rodgers and Hart, which Matthews produced on Theatre Row in NYC. He produced the company’s concert honoring Ned Rorem’s 75th Birthday at Columbia University and a benefit concert with Mystery Writers of America starring John Astin for the Edgar Allan Poe Awards. His music directing and conducting credits also include the world premiere production of Richard Pearson Thomas’s Parallel Lives and new productions of Zaza; Werther; The Rape of Lucretia; Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta; Hansel and Gretel; Oh! Boy; Man With a Load of Mischief; and The Threepenny Opera, all in NYC. Additionally, Matthews produced and music directed the company’s initial reading of the new musical Con Man at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU in conjunction with the University of Southern California and NYU.
Matthews was Music Associate on Broadway for Children and Art, the Stephen Sondheim 75th Birthday gala, presented by The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton and Barbara Streisand, directed by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music directed by Kevin Stites. The experience led to an invitation from the University of London - Goldsmiths College to speak at their international conference on Stephen Sondheim and the publication of an article in the internationally acclaimed journal, The Sondheim Review. The Sondheim Review also published his interview with Judy Kuhn on the occasion of her doing Sondheim’s Passion at the Classic Stage Company in New York City.
He has served on the music staff of the Santa Fe Opera for productions conducted by Raymond Leppard and John Crosby and directed by Peter Wood and Bliss Hebert. Matthews spent several seasons touring North America for Columbia Artists and Karlsrud Concerts appearing as a solo and as a collaborative pianist.
Matthews was Mark Hamill's keyboard coach for the original Broadway production of Amadeus directed by Sir Peter Hall. Off-Broadway he was music director for a revival of They're Playing Our Song. He was the original music director of Shout! The Mod Musical at NYC’s The Duplex. Matthews's career has also included working on productions and concerts with many other notable artists including Harolyn Blackwell, Ann Blyth, Keith Buterbaugh, Dixie Carter, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Melissa Errico, Harvey Evans, Richard Fredricks, Malcom Gets, Noel Harrison, Mariette Hartley, Anne Hathaway, Stefania de Kennessey, Daniel Pelzig, Stephen Pickover, Mikell Pinkney, and Jane Powell. He has also conducted new productions with orchestra of My Favorite Year directed by Evan Pappas in New York City; Smokey Joe's Cafe at Artpark (NY); The Amorous Flea at Riverside Theatre (FL); Oliver!, Call Me Madam, and Camelot at the Virginia Musical Theatre where he is a staff music director; and Evita, The Sound of Music, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Man of la Mancha, Oklahoma!, The Boyfriend, Camelot, The Music Man, and The Fantasticks at Struthers Library Theatre (PA).
Theatre Journal published his performance review of musicals at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival. His essay on the collaboration between music director and director was published in Robert Knopf's book, The Director as Collaborator. As an invited panelist for a seminar on diversity in the musical theatre at the Association of Theatre in Higher Education's 2006 national conference in Chicago, Matthews delivered a paper on Rosetta LeNoire and the Amas Musical Theatre.
Matthews’s former students include two Tony Award winning Broadway producers and a Theatre World Award winning and Outer Critics Circle Award nominated actress. His students have credits at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center; on Broadway (American Idiot, Avenue Q, Blithe Spirit, Candide, Chicago, The Color Purple, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, 42nd Street, Impressionism, Lennon, Newsies, Peter and the Star Catcher, Pippin, Rent, Slava’s Snow Show, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike); Off-Broadway (Blue Man Group, De La Guarda, Seussical, Shout!, Silence!); and on national tours (Billy Elliot, Candide, Cats, A Chorus Line, Cinderella, Fiddler on the Roof, 42nd Street, Grease, Gypsy, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, Legally Blond, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, Rent, Rock of Ages, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Titanic, Wicked).
Matthews is Director of Music Theatre, Associate Professor and Music Director at the University at Buffalo – The State University of New York. He was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and he served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Florida where he music directed College of Fine Arts productions and university-wide special events. He served on the musical theatre faculty at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and was an Artist/Teacher for Arts4fAll, Ltd. in NYC. Matthews serves on the Advisory Board of the Amas Musical Theatre in NYC where he has also served as a music director. Matthews graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He holds a Master of Music in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching from the University of Illinois where he studied with John Wustman.
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