Composer
About

New York-based composer James Matheson is widely regarded as one of the most distinctive, vital, and creative musical voices of his generation. 2016 marks the release of Matheson's first portrait CD, with premiere recordings of his Violin Concerto by Baird Dodge, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, String Quartet by Color Field Quartet, and song-cycle Time Alone recorded by Laura Strickling (soprano) and Thomas Sauer (piano). Among his commissions are works for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the Chicago and Albany Symphony Orchestras, Carnegie Hall, and the St. Lawrence and Borromeo String Quartets. The American Academy of Arts and Letters honored him in 2011 with the Charles Ives Living, a major multi-year award.

Posted: Dec-13-2016
Latest News
James Matheson

With important commissions from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic among others, and a new and highly praised album release, James Matheson has established a reputation as a composer of finely tuned, individualistic music with wide ranging appeal. We’ll chat with him about his career and play his music.

Posted: Mar-3-2017
Latest Acclaim
Stereophile

"Not only was the music gripping and appealing, the multichannel sound was completely involving."

— Stereophile
Posted: Feb-2-2017
Latest Recording
James Matheson: Violin Concerto, String Quartet, and Times Alone

The story of this recording begins with James Matheson’s Violin Concerto, which he wrote for violinist Baird Dodge and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as a commission from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This album includes the concerto’s premiere performance in Chicago on the evening of December 15th, 2011, with Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the CSO with Baird Dodge as soloist.

Composer James Matheson lives in New York. But many cities, Los Angeles among them, claim him for their own. This humble, friendly and informal man, hashing out a compositional hurdle with a student on one day, is the same person on other days who wins Guggenheim and Charles Ives Living Awards and takes curtain calls from the most important stages in concert halls around the world.

The album includes the James Matheson String Quartet, described by Tim Mangan in the Orange County Register on February 20th, 2014 warmly: “Matheson’s String Quartet is an impressive piece of work. Thirty-two minutes long, it is brimming with ideas; the richness of their number is palpable…. The String Quartet is, perhaps first and foremost, beautifully orchestrated, the combination of instruments used to create one wondrous color after another. Motor rhythms and repeated patterns juice forward progress; these ideas move through tonal progressions, reaching plateaus of more static material (at least in the first two movements) – meditative, starry-skied, rapt. The quick finale is a syncopated romp.”

Also on this recording are soprano Laura Strickling and pianist Thomas Sauer performing Matheson’s song cycle Times Alone. Our friend the soprano Kiera Duffy commissioned Jim to write Times Alone, which sets five surrealist poems by Antonio Machado from his collection Soledades, galerias y otros poemas published in 1907. Jim set his songs to English translations by the eminent poet Robert Bly. Kiera was not able to join us for our concert and recording session because she had just given birth to her first child. The superb Laura Strickling joined our project instead, and became another friend for life.

Posted: Sep-6-2016
Latest Video
Posted: Sep-19-2016