Matthew Olyver is a composer whose music is regularly performed across the UK and in Mainland Europe. He is especially interested in engaging with old Japanese poems from the Manyóshú, the oldest collection of Japanese poetry dating from the eight century and earlier. Matthew translates the poetic techniques found in this collection into tools to compose music with in his pieces.
Matthew has written for numerous orchestras, ensembles and individuals including the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, the Manson Ensemble, the Heath Quartet, the Ligeti Quartet, CHROMA Ensemble, Block4, CoMA London Ensemble, Ensemble Mirage, the pianists Huw Watkins and John Reid, the violinist Michael Foyle and the Recorder player Tabea Debus. His music has been played in festivals across the UK such as the Dartington Summer Music Festival, the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Spitalfields Music Festival and the Colchester Lightbulb Festival. This Summer his protest against protest song Smiling in my heart as I near home will be premiered at the Waterloo Festival.
Matthew has enjoyed extensive work and premieres in Mainland Europe. In the Summer of 2016 his Ballet Film Score for the feature film Iris Warriors was recorded by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra in the Radio Station of Bratislava. In May 2017, his piece for viola and piano Altair was performed by Timothy Ridout at the Gasteig in Munich and was broadcast live on German Radio. In February 2018 the Recorder Quartet Block4 premiered his piece My Last Breath at the ‘Les Goûts Réunis’ Concert Series in Amsterdam. For 2018 Matthew's Orchestral piece Forest of Stars will be premiered by the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Much of Matthew’s current work involves collaborating closely with orchestras and larger ensembles. In November 2017, his piece for sinfonietta On the Sea of Heaven was premiered by the Manson Ensemble in the Duke's Hall (London) under the baton of Timothy Weiss. November 2017 also saw the premiere of his orchestral piece Clare by the Hornton Chamber Orchestra at St. Peter’s Church (London). Future engagements include working with the Bristol Ensemble, the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra and a world premiere with the Berkeley Ensemble.
Matthew received a Distinction and an additional DipRAM prize for an outstanding composition portfolio for his Masters study at the Royal Academy of Music. In September 2017, he started his Doctoral Studies at the Academy under the supervision of Philip Cashian. In addition, he has received masterclasses and lessons from composers such as Judith Weir CBE, Oliver Knussen CBE, John Pickard and Magnus Lindberg.