Matthew Olyver is a composer and conductor 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, the Bristol Ensemble, the Berkeley 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.
Much of Matthew’s current work involves collaborating closely with orchestras and larger ensembles. Matthew has just been made composer in residence with the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra, an exciting young professional orchestra based in London and Vienna. As part of his residency, he will be composing new orchestral works for the 18/19 season.
As a conductor Matthew has built up extensive experience during his time as an undergraduate student at Bristol University. He was chief conductor of the University String Orchestra and conducted a complete production of Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro' with the University Opera Society. He also co-founded and conducted the Victoria Chamber Orchestra in Bristol, an Orchestra dedicated to programming new music alongside standard classical repertoire. During his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music he was awarded a second study in Conducting with Sian Edwards.
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.